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Do It On Their T.E.R.M.S.

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I take being the instructional leader of my building quite seriously. As a part of my instructional duties as the building principal, I am constantly sharing with my teachers the latest and greatest apps and websites out there. I am always very excited to see the teachers incorporate the new technology into their lessons. I am blessed to have a staff that loves technology and I am proud to say that they have become really expert at working with these new apps/websites.

I must admit that at first, it wasn't so easy to get the teachers to feel comfortable when using new technologies. A common question was, "Where do I start?" I had to ponder this question for myself. Where do you start when teaching educators or students to use a new technology? I then decided if you want your teachers to use the technology, you must approach it on their T.E.R.M.S.!

Time: The first thing you have to consider when introducing new technology is the need for TIME. Teachers need to learn the ins and outs of the program if they are to teach it or use it themselves. They need to be comfortable with the technology so they feel confident in teaching it to their students or using it with their students. Remember, chances are that you did not become an expert on the new app or website without practice, so the first lesson for administrators is to make sure the teachers have enough time to practice and learn the new technology before expecting them to incorporate it into their lessons.

Encouragement: As with any good teaching/learning experience, you need to ENCOURAGE your teachers to do their best and enjoy the experience. Many veteran teachers may be reluctant to dive into new technology. Give them the necessary encouragement and reinforcement to practice using the technology in a non-intimidating environment.

Resources: From a veteran technology user to the person who is being asked to use email for the first time, nothing is more frustrating than broken or malfunctioning computers. Make sure that when you ask your teachers/students to use technology that they have the necessary RESOURCES to be successful. This would include not only the actual hardware being used, but also the web sites. Make sure beforehand that the websites you want your teachers/students to use are not blocked by content filters and always make sure the technology is appropriate for school use.

Modeling: As educators, we have all been in our fair share of class lectures and professional development sessions. Nothing drives me crazier than being in a class that is supposed to be teaching some dynamic new way to reach my students, but the instructor is simply lecturing. I also get annoyed when I am being taught new technology, but the instructor is not actually using the technology. MODELING has always been and continues to be an excellent teaching strategy, and this is especially true when using technology. If you are teaching a group about this new app and how it would work in the classroom, then you need to be using it. Model the type of teacher you want to see when you go to observe your staff and use the technology you want them to use. As a principal working in a professional development situation, your teachers are your students. You cannot expect them to teach their students any differently than you choose to teach them. Take advantage of those professional development opportunities by modeling good teaching techniques.

Share success: It is so important to be positive with your staff. You want to celebrate and SHARE their success. It is just human nature that we want to be validated and acknowledged for a job well done. When using technology, you may have to celebrate even the tiniest success. Remember success breed's success.

When introducing new technology, you need to let your teachers know that you are willing to give them the time necessary to learn the technology, and that you will encourage them while on their journey. Let them know that they have the resources necessary to use the technology in their classroom and remind them that you have modeled for them how to use the technology in an educational environment. Most importantly, make sure they are successful and share their successes. You must master technology use on their T.E.R.M.S.