Yesterday, whilst I was running several sessions for the “Grass ICT Day” at Casterton, I was shocked and dismayed, by the following events:-
- one teacher told me that she could not apply for a class or personal blog as she did not have an email address!! (She was in my blogging session and about to open a blog)
- At an earlier session, the room was full of teachers wanting to learn MS Photostory. That was also to my utter astonishment as I had expected all teachers to have used it in some form or another and that I would have few particpants in this session.
- When working with smaller groups, staff did not know how to open a new window or tab in Internet Explorer. (Another trait I had assumed)
- Many staff lacked confidence in basic computer skills
- By sheer coincidence,on twitter that same night @dswaters made similar comments about observations in her sessions that day.
So, that has made me reflect again on how we get staff on board web2.0. Many staff, still have little knowledge or skill with computers. So, they need to smile before they take those baby steps. Confidence and knowledge is the key to success.
They need to first:-
- know how to use the internet with confidence and purpose
- have ready and regular access at their place of work to the internet
- each staff member must have a personal email address
- all school communications should take the form of email where possible
- computerised student reports should be mandated
- PD sessions, preferably in-house, should take place regularly, with refreshments and food on offer, to make a relaxed atmosphere. These sessions should cater for absolute beginners through to more experienced levels. These should be on offer over varying times and days, if possible.
- More experienced users of technology could be directed to online pd sessions.
- first applications of web2.0 need to be useful and purposeful in personal lives, as this will prompt possible classroom and teaching applications. (del.icio.us, google apps, image manipulation (with eg irfanview, MSPhotostory for digitalstorytelling etc)
- educational institutions need to provide backup support
I have learned never to assume that staff know anything at all about internet and online usage. Even surveys may bring skewed results as staff are reluctant to admit they lack knowledge and before I make presentations, or conduct workshops, I must remember to gear them for all ability levels.