“There is NO EXCUSE for not providing teachers with proper training when new technology is introduced by the school!”
I’ve just completed a quick survey on training but first here is a little rant!
Training (of the lack of it) in the use of all the new classroom technology has always been a big hobby horse of mine. An awful lot of money is now being spent on high-tech equipment for the classroom from computers to projectors, DVDs and audio, interactive whiteboards, document cameras and even the voting systems – but precious little thought is given to actually making sure these tools are used effectively by the people who are supposed to use them!
It’s almost as if that in the mad rush to acquire the hardware we’ve forgotten the main reason for buying the equipment in the first place! Computer software suppliers will quickly tell you of their frustration that only about 10% of the power of their software is ever used by the average person. I can tell you that this is the same if not worse for interactive whiteboards!
So as I said, I did a quick informal survey recently based upon some of the emails I received over the last few days. I simply asked, “When you were given the Smart Board for your classroom did anyone offer you any training for it?” Well, it seems that 80% of teachers are just given the Smart Board without any training at all!
In most of these instances, the reason given for NOT arranging training was quite simply that there was a fixed amount of money and so the money spent on training just meant less SMART Boards!
Well I can understand that.
I for one would much rather have access to a board and not receive training rather than wait for the ‘powers that be’ arrange formal training with every new board. At least you can get started! But I also know how long it takes when you are left to fend for yourself. Even to get the basics under control can take a fair bit of organising when you have a full schedule on your plate.
There was an excuse for not supplying training for these boards in the past. After all traditional face to face training is so expensive and complicated to arrange that you certainly would be looking at 25% less boards in the classroom and of course the teachers on the frontline had to manage all the disruptions to class work! In our region it seems that just a one day course, (that only does the basics) costs about $300 and then you have to arrange travel and a supply teacher for time you are away if you cannot wait until the end of term. It seems a typical final cost is around $500 a day.
But there is NO excuse not to give teachers proper training now!
At only $69.95 USD for a complete online course that takes you right from the basics to hyperspace – cost can NO longer be an excuse!
Neither is there any disruption to class schedules. There is no longer any need to arrange alternative supervision of the class. The course can even be studied at home which should please some people! Access to training couldn’t be simpler. An individual can purchase a course informally themselves online with a credit card, or, courses can be purchased in bulk and the intuitive LMS system within the website can arrange dissemination around the school very simply. A teacher can even prove that they not only completed the course but also attained a very high standard by receiving a course certificate at the end.
I would like think that my new Online Smart Board course will help to create a “movement”; a “movement” in all school districts to simply arrange proper teacher training when teachers are asked to use high-tech equipment in the classroom. In the case of interactive whiteboards just a very small increase in the knowledge of the Notebook software will have HUGE benefits in the classroom.