Wednesday, 19 September 2012

How do we inspire reluctant adopters?

Having difficulty getting all staff to engage in using an
e-blended approach to learning and teaching?

A group of experienced teachers and e-learn leaders used a knowledge building forum to find some answers to this challenging and complex problem. The outcome has created a structure at various levels within the school for consideration when supporting reluctant teachers to engage with change. Every level is valuable and must be transparent to key staff when strategically planning an approach for change within a school.

Co-construct eLearn goals that reflect school vision with all staff.
It is not only valuable but extremely powerful when you engage all staff in the direction of the school and what e-learn practises would look like when you achieve this vision. School vision drives the direction and inspiration for the whole school and this should be recognised by all staff in all areas of learning and teaching.

Clear expectations of what should be achieved by all staff.
Each teacher can make progress but it must be decided what is important and would be seen as moving forward. Success criteria are essential for creating clear understandings of expectations, knowing the direction they are going, steps needed to get there and what it will look like in the end. It should also be noted that a digital native teacher may be great with technology but unsure how to apply this to advance learning in the classroom.

The ‘Mount Everest Syndrome’ where technology is provided and the teacher expected to take it on can create all sorts of emotions in staff, conflict with pedagogies and become a fruitless and expensive undertaking. We need to consider the pedagogy behind technology before we apply the technology.
Ownership is when the teacher believes in what they are doing and values effective use of ICT. It may be slow progress due to self-confidence and belief, time and access, knowledge and support.
Buy in is when the teacher does ICT because they have to (enforced by management), don't understand reason for it and don't really want to. Usually evokes feelings where they need to be seen doing something. They have a vast and innovative array of excuses.

Engage commitment and ownership by applying teacher inquiry model to create change at own individual pace. The diversity will emerge here. It’s non-confrontational and encourages choice in learning.

Staff appraisals
Keeping the learning linked to staff appraisals
1. recognises the value of our learning as professionals
2. engages discussion for next steps defines skills and knowledge for clarity in next steps. (This process may need support)
3. brings to the foremost attention for learning that year
4. makes us accountable

The following websites provide essential information valuable for staff to ask self-reflective questions or as discussion starters at staff appraisals.
TKI  Enabling e learning planning framework.
Registered Teacher Criteria and elearning

The Team
Through discussions, practices in classrooms and displays of enthusiasm for technology, early adopters and innovators within the school will become evident. These people will lead the way and become the support network for the school. However, every teacher is not only responsible but should be expected, to share great practises, no matter what their level of skill and knowledge is. Their voice and contribution should always be valued as important and relevant to everyone’s learning.

Modelling Best Practices
Systems and collaborative practises within the school need to be expected and modelled by all. Have expectations of collaborative practises between syndicates to reduce workload and to keep it purposeful for all staff. We cannot expect teachers to use e-learn practises in classroom when it’s not happening across the school as staff. Every teacher should be a leader of e learning! Shared ownership of school wide practises will engage and ignite ideas for collaborative teaching practises in the classroom. These may need to be linked to breakouts.

Staff PD
Staff PD is the perfect opportunity to model valuable use of technology and collaborative learning. The most powerful form of PD is in time, as and when needed, reflective, engaging for all, inspiring ownership, and where every person’s ideas are heard and valued. Possible professional development that achieves this criteria include….
-          Unconferences
-          Workshop options directed by negotiated needs of staff
-          World cafĂ©  (
-          Collaborative inquiry

       Dealing with Challenges
No more whizz bang!
The most hidden version of a teacher resisting change is someone looking for whizz bang technology. They are a challenge as they believe they are using a blended e learning approach to lift achievement when they are still teaching using traditional methods where the learning is still teacher owned and directed. The most powerful learning is shared and collaborative.

The SAMR Model demonstrates how technology should be implemented. This is particularly useful for teachers who must see a purposeful for it before time goes into implementing a new skill. (

Point of Leverage
Difficult discussions can provide the best information. Having a conversation with staff who are reluctant adopters as a collaborative group - difficulties, emotions, and where they are at on the eLearning pedagogical continuum for change are revealed.
Problems highlighted may include, time for development, workload, can’t see why I have to do it, I don’t have to teach it kids are learning it by themselves, kids shouldn’t be in front of a laptop after school, they should be playing.
This information can be used to identify point of leverage.
Things to note throughout this type of meeting.
1.       People who fear change. These can be the most difficult people to shift as emotions are strong will require a lot of positive opportunities to shine before change will begin.
2.       People who are resisting change. Leave these people for last. They will either follow or be left behind. Work with most positive and enthusiastic to create a powerful force of change.
3.       People who could lead change if given the opportunity. These people will lead others in a fractal manner becoming the powerful force for setting the expectations across the school.
4.       Blocks.  These could be equipment, internet access, student filters, not enough p.d., p.d. above or below level of teachers ie: not collaborative.
5.       Opportunities – Identify teachers who shine but don’t realise it yet, teachers who are open to try new things, teachers who trying lots of things but getting nowhere. Sometimes people who are doing well but don’t feel as if they are is due to self-confidence. These are the most reflective teachers and can be moved forward through positive reinforcement.
A similar meeting with teachers who are looking for the next step can also be used to identify point of leverage. (
New Opportunities
Reducing the workload and empowering the students
Providing opportunities to empower children will spread skills and support for creating change and leading opportunities for others within the school.
It has the potential to….
-reduce pressure on teachers
-empower students
-highlight leaders
-create opportunities for empowering a community of learners
-peers scaffolding peers
-develop self confidence
-support teachers technology skills

Informal Mentoring
1-1   support for teachers has proven to be pivotal for creating change. It provides just in time, as and
when needed support at the level required for that teacher. Informal means no set meeting time, provides flexibility and appropriate learning and discussions. You need to consider the diffusion of innovation model when placing mentors with a reluctant adopter. Trust, respect and relationships are what create the best long term change agent. (

Unique PD Opportunities
The use of ICT as a professional creates opportunities never been available for us in the past. We can gain support, ideas and advice by networking with other teachers. Maximise the use of social media for professional development as we have for this project. Lurking or interacting with other school blogs and websites provide a wide range of creative ideas that have proven to work. Keep a record of all professional learning and evidence online. (Ariki, blog, wiki, google site).

Collaborative Sharing
-Pecha kucha style sharing from everyone at syndicate p.d.
-Gain knowledge across all sectors of education groups in your area. Create a collaborative PD with preschools, primary and high schools.
- Create an online community for sharing teaching and learning resources. Curriculum teams develop integration on technology for streamlining sharing resources and ideas on a wiki, google site, SMS.

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