As I wait with baited breath to receive my new laptop courtesy of the NSW DET, an invigorating post by Melissa Giddins has got me planning how to introduce change to my faculty. Only where Melissa as Head Teacher has the authority to set the pace of change in her faculty (laptops used in some way every lesson for the first few weeks, then moving to every second lesson on average – I love it!), as a rank-and-file classroom teacher I can only lobby for such change.
My major strategy will be resource sharing at our faculty meetings – a new teaching idea each fortnight, starting with using features of Word to annotate texts (using formatting, comment, track changes etc.) and moving through to more time consuming activities such as making a digital story. Luckily the teachers in my faculty are all quite excited about the arrival of the laptops, though some will need more tech (and moral!) support than others.
During these meetings I’ll also be able to model some key pieces of software starting with Audacity (for making podcasts), Adobe Premier Elements (for movie making – most staff are familiar with MovieMaker…), and taking a look at where to find things in Word 2007 (most still working on 97-03 versions).
Another important strategy is to share work samples from my own classes and discuss what worked, and what didn’t work. For teachers to feel confident in explaining a task or activity to student, I think they have to have a picture in their mind’s eye of what the product will look like.
All very ‘lead a horse to water…’, I know. So far though, so good – I’ve been doing this kind of thing (without the software modelling) all this year, and the mood in the faculty is feeling far more positive these days.
But…what could people a bit higher up than me initiate that may bring about change more rapidly? How about:
- Head Teachers set high expectations for their faculty – laptops to be used in some way every lesson for the first few weeks, then moving to every second lesson on average, sounds good to me
- Paper based ‘Daily Notices’ and ‘Staff Bulletins’ be sent electronically – ensures that teachers check email daily/weekly to retrieve these
- Form a Technology Leadership team, with representatives from each faculty, to meet regularly to share ideas/resources and take ideas back to the faculty level
- Add links to resources for teaching with laptops to school intranet homepage (e.g. TaLe, Curriculum Support)
I’m sure there’s loads more. What can you think of, or what have you been doing already, in whatever role you are in at your school?