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How to help the 'technophobes'...?

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Started by Enabling e-Learning 08 Jun 2011 11:39am () Replies (41)

There was an interesting opinion piece on the e-Learning Stuff blog this week, about the resistance, in some quarters, to using technology for teaching and learning:

'...but I'm a technophobe!' [e-Learning stuff blog]

If you are involved in professional learning, how do you manage this situation?


  • Kelliem (View all users posts) 08 Jun 2011 7:47pm ()

    I found out about Appreciative Inquiry last year and it seems to be a useful tool for the 'slow up-takers'. This sounds similar to what Jan is saying;

    A.I uses 4 steps

    • Discover -getting alongside the person and finding out what is already being done, as the technophobe post said many are already using technology personally.
    • Dream -Take the time to imagine (...effective use of eLearning)
    • Design -Create plans for achieving the dream
    • Destiny -implementing the plans
    The other thing that has been effective has been 'gentle pressure' -raising the expectation bar a little at a time. After each professional eLearning session we now expect staff to demonstrate what they have done in the session or at the beginning of the following session. Initially some still shied away from sharing but we now have the expectation that everyone shares and it doesn't matter if it is a lot or a little. This 'gentle pressure' without judgement has meant that within a year personal sharing is now a matter of course. Next step is classroom transference... 
  • Kelliem (View all users posts) 11 Jun 2011 3:27pm ()

    WARNING - This is going to be a long post!

    My school has been developing eLearning explicitly since 2009 when we started on the ICTPD cluster project.

    We ,of course, had some early adapters (-isn't New Zealand leading the world in early adoption?). We have had some very real struggles with some staff. It has been an uphill process and at times it really has been one step forward and two steps back.

    Early on we decided to develop a 'mother tongue' which was from Dorothy Burt coming to speak to us. Our school decided to focus on learning one tool in depth with the belief that the knowledge would transfer to other tools later.

    Leadership has been paramount in this process. Our principal led the meeting where we all set up a classroom blogs. Weekly Professional development meetings were instigated and ICT leadership was split into technical and eLearning. As co-leaders, my colleague and I began a series of PD sessions developing skills that could be used to enhance the classroom blog such as adding gadgets, photography-adding photos etc . Our sessions were split into 2 and staff could choose the 'beginners' or advanced' level. This proved very beneficial -it allowed those who needed support to get it and those who were ready to fly, could.

    The next important leadership decision was that attendance was made compulsory which meant that appointments etc could no longer be an excuse.

    Following that (and these steps were 1-2 terms apart) we moved our PD focus to learning how best to use our LMS -KnowledeNET. Compulsory sharing was introduced in the expectations -this was the start of gentle pressure. Staff soon realised that sharing a little or a lot was well received and so it became easier.

    Our cluster put some of its funding towards 'walkthroughs'. This meant that staff had the opportunity to see what was going on in different schools in our area as well as opening their rooms and hosting teachers from those schools. Our principal funded a further session so our teachers could attend 2 walkthroughs each. The benefit of this was they got to see that they were 'normal' and that what they were doing was similar to many others. This provided us with further 'gentle pressure'. One outcome from the walkthrough was one of our cluster school had their lead teacher released for one day per week to work specifically on individual teacher needs -either personal or classroom.

    So another great leadership decision later and I am released to support teacher goals (one per term) and am responsible for developing eLearning to improve the teaching and learning of our students.

    Now, it has to be said all this support/gentle pressure does not mean our teachers were embedding eLearning but we recently invited Emma Watts from Tahunanui to speak to the staff about effective blogging, adding academic rigor and academic commenting. I have to say this is another under utilised tool -staff are much more receptive to the ideas of 'someone else' -it's like kids who ignore their mum but when their friend's mum suggests the same thing it's a great idea. AND it is developing cluster collaboration AND we should be doing it a whole lot more!

    Classroom blog links with the date of the latest post are now live on our school website and that has prompted some late adopters to move a bit. We got the staff to share with Emma (and the rest of the staff) what they had been doing on their blogs. Turns out we have had 'quiet adopters' who have developed their blogs into true eLearning tools using them to provide links to great websites, as ways to report their learning etc.

    We have some 'late adopters' as well. The success story here is that two and a half years later one of our more reluctant members said to me "we are doing it -we post twice a week and we use kidpix (and some other tools) but it's just surfaces really, there's not much depth". My next step is to work with this staff member and develop a kidspeak matrix to add depth to her posting and commenting. Then she will present this to the staff -I can't think of any more powerful way of promoting how to embed eLearning to other late adopters.

    I guess we have to accept that people will only truly change at the rate they can cope with -but it seems they will change... given time, support and gentle pressure.



  • Kelliem (View all users posts) 11 Jun 2011 3:48pm ()

    One other thing that we are doing is developing TecStars -kids who can go into classrooms and help with modeling tools that the teacher is not confident with, assisting the classroom teacher during lessons, becoming blog experts, training other kids and solving lower level technical issues. This is a model being developed from Sylvia martinez's techYES programme. 

  • Kelliem (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2011 12:59pm ()

    In Vince Ham's video he suggested the notion that professional learning is a social relationship, that professional learning needs to be personalised. Do we pay enough attention to the personalities and learning styles of staff members? Are our late adopters in some sort of minority on the staff? Does this mean our late adopters might feel less than comfortable in their learning environment?

    Does part/whole thinking play a part in this? Some people like to know the big picture first and then can happily break it down into manageable chunks but others find the big picture overwhelming and prefer to work in smaller steps until they are closer to the big picture.

    Dos personality type play a part? Using open or guarded and direct or indirect as the 4 main personality traits does any particular combination appear more or less in the late adopters?

    Does brain dominance play a part? Is there a pattern of left or right side 'brainers' more inclined to be early or late adopters? Does strong creativity or strong logic actually hinder the uptake? 

  • Kelliem (View all users posts) 12 Jun 2011 2:41pm ()

    We all want the best for our kids and their future, and we want our schools to be providing that type of teaching and learning effectively. When there is resistance, it seems to me that frustration can easily become blame. I think it's a lot like kids- I find it really hard getting a student that has almost been given up on at the start of the year. They know that teachers are frustrated with them, they feel that resentment and they have virtually given up. Often it's a matter of finding the teaching style that suits that student's learning style and the results can be amazing. 

    eLearning leaders are naturally early adopters and keen beans-that's why we got the job... but does our enthusiasm become a disincentive because it is perceived as frustration?

    I wonder if there is a pattern to the different ways we learn. If there was it would be a bit easier to find a 'way in' to get these late adopters to see things through a different lens. If there is a survey going around I'd like to see if these questions can unearth any patterns in learning styles and late adopters (technophobes).

  • Kelliem (View all users posts) 14 Jun 2011 6:05am ()

    I really like the slideshare -the ideas are simple and succinct (and the graphics are great).

    I followed the Tecnhology Adoption Lifecycle link and found this post on the benefits of making mistakes by the same blogger, Mike Bogle. Thanks for the links Tessa Smile

    Do we need to acknowledge the discomfort of making mistakes but reiterate the value and joy of learning from a mistake? It seems the general consensus is that time is the biggest barrier to exploration. It takes time to trial new things, make mistakes and then figure them out or wait to find someone who can help. With such a crowded curriculum and ever increasing pressures on teachers I fear time will eventually swallow even the early adopters or 'pioneers' (or force them out of the classroom).

    I guess this is not necessarily about technology it's about change. Are the same people who are late adopters/ 'colonists'/technophobes also those who resist other forms of change? Are they teachers who have seen a great deal of change, invested time in that change only to see it move away (throw out the baby with the bathwater) and resurface years later with a new name. I've only been teaching for 13 years but I can imagine the frustration of that. Perhaps the 'colonists' deserve more respect for their experience and hesitation as they do force us to look closely at our reasons for introducing new tools, the benefits of them and how they will enhance teaching and learning. 

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