How to get teachers on board with educational and/or assistive technology?
This is not a one size fits all answer unfortunately. However, there are a few steps/approaches I have used that have helped. I will try to outline them a bit and do know, as my head of school always reminds me, time and patience for things won’t happen as fast as we want, but they will happen.
1. Start with a teacher you know is interested and wants to learn. I recall when I was converting my staff to the GSuite, specifically Google Classroom. I was singing it’s praises and all that. However, the not tech onboard teachers kept thinking, well, I get it because I understand educational technology, it’s not for them. So I won over a few people, especially those who were not in the “tech-savvy” perceived realm. Once I got them going, they were able to engage their peers who felt they were on the same playing field. I recall several instances where I stepped back and let the few I had got on board and saw them achieve what I couldn’t. It was amazing!
2. Start with a student. If the technology is specifically for student usage to engage in the class and the classroom teacher really does not need to understand it from the start but agrees for the student to use it, then it’s a door opener. I have worked with students on some specific assistive technology directly with a student, getting them to be independent with it. Then the teacher sees this student being engaged in the class with more independence and success; they then want to know more about what the student is using to create the progress that hasn’t required more of them! I have one teacher who now reaches out to me before I can even get to the students to advocate for their usage of assistive technology.
3. Make engagement with the tools fun if possible. I had a tool I wanted all my colleagues to learn. So I created a silly activity with play dough, a concept, and the tool for them to engage within small groups. It is still one of my favorite professional development moments. For on a Friday afternoon, I have pictures of fun collaboration, silliness, and learning.
So there is no one easy answer on how to get others on board. Trial and error will be the reality that, but also meeting colleagues where they are and finding the right selling points that help them see it will be better for them, and the student is always the best door opener.