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General Chat Thread, "Technophobe Teachers wasting millions" in General; http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle3142536.ece A report in the Times today... I guess it just confirms what we already knew!...
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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    "Technophobe Teachers wasting millions"

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle3142536.ece

    A report in the Times today... I guess it just confirms what we already knew!

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    localzuk's Avatar
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    I'm happy to think that our school would be closer to 50% usage of the technology available. But there's still a long way to go. The problem, as I see it, is that staff don't have the time to learn how to use new equipment effectively. We have half a dozen inset days a year maximum, and of those 1 or 2 may be twilighted. How is that a useful amount of time to do any effective training? Or if staff are sent on training courses, and as such only a couple can go at a time. It just isn't good enough really.

    With the speed at which the government are pushing in new ICT technologies in schools, it is no wonder teachers have been left a bit in the dark!

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    GrumbleDook's Avatar
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    One of the secrets is not to have IT as an inset day of its own but to have it integrated in the other INSET days. When departments have planning days then get them to create at least one resource using IT (or the type of technology you need them to learn).
    Create 'how to' guides that are short and sweet. Small tasks that build up skills.

    You will be surprised how easy they pick things up once they get used to not thinking about learning ICT skills as something that is difficult or that they have to spend a day away on a course.

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    Unvalidated User PatBoland's Avatar
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    Staff don't have the time to learn how to use new equipment effectively?

    This is an excuse for years now in the school environment. When I was in industry new technology was just rolled out, if you did not keep up with it you were left behind. You were expected with minimal training to keep up to speed with these advances. If your local GP did not keep up to speed with the latest medical advances what would happen?
    Here Office Administration Staff are expected to take changes in their stride!! Office 2007, Vista etc. but Teaching Staff need training days - that's the difference and the problem....

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatBoland View Post
    Here Office Administration Staff are expected to take changes in their stride!! ....
    I agree the office staff do take changes in their stride; but this is because they are using the technology all the time.

    The teachers haven't had to use the technology in the past and can get by without it. Given the choice between floundering in front of a class while trying to work out the technology and teaching a lesson at normal pace; I can understand why teachers won't use the technology.

    They do need to be trained in how to use things; it does need to be incorporated as a part of all trainings as a tool (not a separate entity) and once the teachers have received training they need to use the technology straight away so that it becomes second nature to them!

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    PEO
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    We are a maths & computing college, so alot of money has been spent on new equipment. I therefore taken on the addtional task of training staff to use the new software and equipment. I find the younger teachers understand the new technology alot quicker where the senior staff take a little longer. Then we have acouple of teachers that can't be bothered at all to learn, which is a shame, because alot of it can make there jobs so much easier.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    The problem, as I see it, is that staff don't have the time to learn how to use new equipment effectively. We have half a dozen inset days a year maximum, and of those 1 or 2 may be twilighted. How is that a useful amount of time to do any effective training? Or if staff are sent on training courses, and as such only a couple can go at a time.
    I think you're right, staff need time to learn how to use equipment, although I think part of the problem might be this must-be-trained attitude that people get into. We maybe need to foster more of a have-a-tinker-and-see-what-happens attitude - get staff to understand that PCs don't blow up if you press the wrong buttons, all their files won't be deleted at a moments notice, etc. This is sometimes an issue with how school computer system are organised - workstations need to be easily recoverable if someone inavertantly trashes it, files need to be restoreable if someone accidently deletes them, etc. The somewhat strict attitude to network / workstation security taken by some schools probably doen't help - having loads of nasty-looking warnings and notices around about installing software and so on probably makes someone who isn't too sure of what they're doing want to sit back and not risk doing anything they haven't been explicitly told to.

    --
    David Hicks

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    richard.thomas's Avatar
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    You've definitely got a point their dhicks. Most of my skill set has been taught to my self by tinkering and so on. Encouraging others to do this might be a good idea, although you do have to have a certain amount of motivation and the want to do such a thing.

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    elsiegee40's Avatar
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    Agree about the "tinkering" - unfortunately, many teachers are so bogged down with paperwork that they don't feel they have time to tinker

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    contink's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40 View Post
    The teachers haven't had to use the technology in the past and can get by without it. Given the choice between floundering in front of a class while trying to work out the technology and teaching a lesson at normal pace; I can understand why teachers won't use the technology.

    They do need to be trained in how to use things; it does need to be incorporated as a part of all trainings as a tool (not a separate entity) and once the teachers have received training they need to use the technology straight away so that it becomes second nature to them!
    Think you pretty much nailed the issues there..

    How many of us enjoy being foisted into an environment where someone has pushed a new system on us and not given us the time to get to grips with it. Add to that shove in an impatient audience and the pressure notches up.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elsiegee40
    you do have to have a certain amount of motivation and the want to do such a thing.
    Quote Originally Posted by contink
    Agree about the "tinkering" - unfortunately, many teachers are so bogged down with paperwork that they don't feel they have time to tinker
    Therefore, "training" should ideally mean a dedicated chunk of time set aside for users to get used to a particular piece of software at their own pace. If possible, they should have some real work to do with the system in question, not just some make-work exercise.

    --
    David Hicks

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    farmerste's Avatar
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    what teachers say to me ....

    my favourite, and quite frequently heard response is.. 'its no good you showing me, because i don't retain information...'

    or in other words you'll have to show me each time



    the most frequently asked question is - ' how do i copy this work to my memory stick ?'


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    Sirbendy's Avatar
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    Ah yes. We get it a lot.

    Some of it is "CBA to think, you do it for me"
    Some of it is sheer lack of confidence
    Some of it is terror of damaging something
    Some of it is being afraid to use it in front of the kids incase they end up looking stupid.

    SMARTboards are a biggie..especially for, shall we say, the more seasoned staff. They tend to need things breaking down into small chunks and for me to be sitting with them and saying "don't worry - you won't break it". I've now got some of our oldest staff using them in every lesson with wireless presenters etc..heh.

    USB keys - yes..get that too. Some of it is down to our setup though...XP attempting to allocate letters in use to the network/U3 tomfoolery. The rest is down to fear of making a mistake..at which point I explain the benefits of backups and shadow copy (fairly impossible to make a terminal cockup), and reassure them of the fact that if the PC did fail, I could have it back up and running in 30 minutes with no data lost.

    Some programs aren't used, purely down to lack of time, and lack of wanting to play with them.

    Laptops..they're afraid of. It takes a fair bit of reassurance that it's just a normal PC, but a bit smaller needing some extra common sense to care for it. But, I get that with my mother, so..

    I have to say, ours are fairly good..although I do keep meaning to do some "tutorial" videos and captivate "user guides", along with some PDF ones for the less dynamic stuff, linked on the intranet.

    Sometimes, *I* don't have enough time..sigh. Although I have (for a joke) provided a PDF guide to "caring for and feeding your office stapler"..as we get so many broken ones due to hamfistedness, it's ridiculous. It was the last straw when one member of staff stapled her finger..H&S anyone?

    Surprisingly, several staff now have the guide, and my printed copy has wandered off..

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    torledo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dhicks View Post
    Therefore, "training" should ideally mean a dedicated chunk of time set aside for users to get used to a particular piece of software at their own pace. If possible, they should have some real work to do with the system in question, not just some make-work exercise.

    --
    David Hicks
    Or how about in-their-own-time training. How many hours do we as IT staff spent on weekends and evenings getting to grips with something without getting paid to do so - sure i don't consider it a chore and it's something i do out of choice, but hey, it's for my own betterment in the long-run....and if teachers are too spineless as to learn in their own time from a manual or the internet as their resouce without hand-holding then it's their own futures they're hindering....No, but wait, teachers don't have to worry about that because they've practically got a job for life - whether they learn something new application or not...

    I hear a lot of excuses being made for the IT inadequacy of teachers - at some point the excuses have to stop and the teaching profession has to accept responsibility for not making use of the considerable IT investments made over the years.

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    dhicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by torledo View Post
    Or how about in-their-own-time training.
    This problem can be approached from two sides (kind of a pincer movement style of thing): computers should Just Work - teachers are in schools to teach, not use computers, computers should do intuitively what their users expect. Obviously this is a problem that has so far foxed the experts and large hardware and software companies. Our roll in this, I guess, is to set up computer systems so there's as little messing around needed as possible (me, I just figure make everything web-based, that way at least you only need one GUI to worry about). Teachers have plenty of work to do outside of the classroom (planning lessons, marking homework, etc), they really don't need any more.

    However, teachers should Just Give It A Go. It's not so much "skills" we need to get across (to staff or to pupils), but a mindset. Take it slow, figure it out (read the on-screen information!), don't panic if you get an error message, take it steady. That's the solution right there - if we can just figure out how to get that attitude into people we'll be laughing.

    I think staff could do with a bit of background theory about computers in general - kind of like a GCSE, but updated, without the dull stuff, and without the endless coursework. Just a couple of hours quick overview of computers in general, with nice well-produced reference books for them to refer to in future. Then they need systems robust enough so that nothing can really be damaged - machines imaged and restoreable at short notice, files backed up so they can't be lost. Then they might be a bit more relaxed about having a play around and seeing what happens when they try stuff.

    --
    David Hicks



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