Schools around the world are experiencing a painful and inevitable spurt of growth. I am, of course, talking about technology integration. Maybe once a week your class is using a computer on wheels (COW) on a train, or maybe every student at your school suddenly grabs an iPad and the administrator uses the dreaded paperless phrase. Regardless of the degree of technology integration, it seems that we are all at some point in the transition to new technologies.
However, the sad reality is that many adults struggle to adapt to new technology, no matter how much training we do or how many tools we provide. We approach the new school year with the full understanding that our students will innovate and transform media for their own evil ends, even before we teachers learn to turn on the equipment. The solution to this problem is simple. It’s time to read the page of our student guide. We must quickly overcome the barriers of fear, fear and distrust to stay ahead of the technology race.
Overcome your fear of new technology
Unlike the five stages of loss and grief, everyone (not just adults) experiences a series of predictable reactions to new technology. Knowing that these stages are the same for everyone, and not only are you fighting the world, but you can also progress through them much faster. You can learn to follow a student’s example and turn fear into joy and ultimately acceptance.
Stage 1 – Refusal
As a teacher, we work hard to improve our skills. Year after year, we make minor adjustments to our curriculum, lesson plans and classroom management to maximize efficiency. So it was especially surprising when administrators reported sudden and large changes like paperless courses and 1: 1 technology integration (where every student works on a device, be it a computer, tablet, or even a phone). Many teachers answer messages automatically. The general response is, “It will never work!”
It turns out that this is a natural response to new technology. Even children who seem flexible and have been swept up in the new wave of technological developments experience initial insecurity. The key to successful technology adoption is acknowledging that you feel frustrated and anxious. This is normal. Admitting your fears will help you get through this stage more quickly. The last thing you need to do is let fear take over and cause paralysis. You can say, “I’m scared and I don’t like it.” But don’t stop there. Overcome your fears and try the technology.
Stage 2 – Negotiation
“You can put this in my class, but you can’t force me to use this!” You may be telling yourself that you will learn as little as possible. You use this technology during your headmaster’s observations, or use it during your first week of school and then save it and return to your usual time-tested routine. In this situation, negotiation is not a bad thing. This can set the stage for the actual use of a new device. Even tech enthusiasts will say, “I’m going to try to use this, but if it doesn’t work, I won’t catch up.” As a teacher, tell yourself that you will give this technology a try. If you don’t like it, you can keep it to a minimum, but at least you let yourself try it without feeling too risky.
Experiment Phase 3
This is a key step in the successful implementation of technology. This is a figurative turning point in your relationship to technology as a technology user. Once you’ve allowed yourself to experiment with technology and click on it (whether it’s a new device like the iPad or a new website like Edmodo.com), experiments can really help us overcome our fears.
When you experiment with new technology, you may encounter obstacles. Your frustration can increase, your fear can flare up again, but don’t let that stop you. Trust me you won’t break your device by clicking on it. You can always reboot, reboot or reboot. Look for a help button, user manual, or even a YouTube tutorial video to help you fix the problem. If you are experimenting, be open and look for something that interests you or is useful to you.
Phase 4 – Excitement
Often, experimenting with new tools amazes educators with which app is right for their class. Teachers are by nature creative and innovative people. We are always looking for material to distinguish and match our students. You start to wonder how this new tool will fit into your studies as you experiment with it. Talking to other teachers is key to clarifying details and paving the way for practical application in your classroom. Explore online technology and read blogs and teacher reviews to get to know the product better and see how others are using it effectively in their classroom.
Phase 5 – Acceptance
The faster you go through the previous stages, the sooner you will feel confident using the new technology. Admission means you are ready to incorporate this technology into your lesson plans, maximize its usability, and really take advantage of this initiative for the benefit of your students.
Everyone goes through the stages of applying technology at their own pace. However, realizing that you will initially feel rejection can help you overcome your fears more quickly and move on to a productive level of exploration and acceptance. As teachers, we don’t always have control over new educational reforms or programmatic initiatives in our schools, but the only thing we can control is how we respond to these changes. By letting go of fear, we can use our energy more productively. Good luck with what your school is planning for next year. You can handle this. Even if you “go paperless”!