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General Chat Thread, Teacher "Buy-In" in General; Is it important, and if so what is the best way to get it? I have been tasked with upgrading ...
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    Teacher "Buy-In"

    Is it important, and if so what is the best way to get it?

    I have been tasked with upgrading and installing about 50 PCs and setting up a network with fileserver/proxy/etc. over the summer. I have much of the task done, but I've been derailed by the lack of support from the staff. All I asked for was some feedback on how they wanted to use the computers and what software they were intending to use.

    I got back nothing.

    I know that the range of computer literacy is VERY wide, but I was hoping that at least 10% of the staff would be helpful.

    I could go ahead with My Plan but I have the feeling that all I would accomplish is a revolution with me against the wall.

    Any thoughts?

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    Geoff's Avatar
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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    You need support from the SMT before you can proceed. Once you have that then as long as you at least inform staff of your plan I don't see how they can reasonably complain. They are likely to unreasonably complain though, they are teachers after all..

    Predictions of your future aside, from my complete non-experience as a teacher, you need to make sure the software on the machine covers what the teachers want to teach. Given their lack of advice, I'd suggest you just go and look and see what gets used the next time there's an IT lesson.

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    I think that it is really important that staff are involved from the start - they are a key stakeholder. I would make it clear that ICT is there to support teaching and learning and therefore is essential for the curriculum especially with ICTAC strategies becoming common place. Ofcourse SLG need to support you so that all staff can see the bigger picture.

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    yes stop and get smt and staff to buy into it maybe at next staff meeting ask slt if can be an agenda topic etc

    You cant go forward with out and also to tick a box in the whole school inclusion etc meet with the school pupil council as well.

    Russ

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    This is ludicrous! I wouldn't even bother to guess what they might want to use. I'd install an OS on the PCs & server, install AV, make sure they talk to each other and the Interweb and await further instructions.
    There's no way you can be expected to set up a usable network until you have detailed information about what the teaching staff want to achive with it. Don't bother trying to talk to individual staff, go straight to SMT and/or ICT Co-ordinator and let them sort it. Such a total lack of planning on their part is nothing short of incompetant.

    RoyG

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    Sounds about normal for some schools I'm afraid..

    I've spent the last 4 years proving that unless I caught the staff in a meeting and nailed them to their seats for 30 minutes I got no feedback until they tried to do something they "expected" and hadn't communicated to me.

    SMT intervention is a must but as a halfway house for now, I'd look at what your foundation requirements are for software..

    Chances are they want the bare bones basics of Word, Excel, and interweb access... On top of that you'll want your printers setup, AV, and security set with instructions on logins, etc... Plenty to keep you going.

    Beyond that, you let SMT know that you can't go any further until you are told exactly what they need and you should find the panicked requests come flooding in. Don't be bullied by the staff and ensure the SMT are backing you up when you explain that feedback was sought and required. Teachers understand natual consequences of laziness even if they don't like them.

    At the end of the day, it's the staffs own fault for assuming you had ESP so they can live the first term without the packages they want while you get it organised and they can say thankyou when it's done too.. They'll learn so think on this as an educational experience for the staff to heed your request or else nought gets done.

    Worked for me..

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    I'll assume that this is a new build or a complete rebuild, otherwise there would be some docs / machines to work from just by browsing the Program Files directory.

    Like others have said, do a basic generic office install, get them patching automatically etc. Get SMT to approve so you have some clout if anyone whines.

    I'm surprised that none of the teachers are interested though, there's usually at least one person per department who knows enough to say what programs they will / won't need - IT "early adopters" if you will. Get them on side and it's a lot easier to get things done since they'll do the in-department pestering for you.

    I usually set a deadline for staff "I need to know X by Y or Z won't get done". As long as staff are aware of it (noticeboards / emails / staff meetings) the threat of not having "Z" ensures prompt information.

    @russdev
    "also to tick a box in the whole school inclusion etc meet with the school pupil council"

    que? to discuss what part(s)? Or to just explain?

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    Quote Originally Posted by pete
    @russdev
    "also to tick a box in the whole school inclusion etc meet with the school pupil council"

    que? to discuss what part(s)? Or to just explain?
    It may sound like more hoop jumping, but by consulting with students as to what their needs are the school can cover a number of areas of 'Every Child Matters' and earn brownie poits for OFSTED.

    It can also help to give direction as to what is needed if teaching staff are not being helpful ... a few questions can release a lot of info about the use in lessons.

    Ask about what they used last year, and to cover which units in ICT, D&T, etc ... do some of them use secific software in Art or Graphics? Are there any particular programs that they enjoyed using in French?

    It also gives you a chance to see what the level of ICT is with the kids too ... and to see which students are getting frustrated with the kit, the lockdowns, or just the general ethos of why they should be using computers.

    It also pays to have the kids on your side rather than trying to destroy things.

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    hmmm, could be worthwhile - there's a couple of dependable kids on the school council that we have regular dealings with - might have to see about getting the view "from the trenches".

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    Thanks for the help. I'll try to push harder to get the staff to step up.

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    Does your school not have a nominated ICT Coordinator? In the schools where I work they act as an interface between the teachers and the IT support service. We generally request details of what software will be required with a list of titles and versions and all media & serial/license details. If this is not forthcoming even after continual reprompting the the installation has to go ahead with whatever software has been made available. Having said all that, most of my work is in Primary schools and the seemingly quite high turnover of ICT coordinators means they are always trying to get a handle on what has been left them by the previous occupant of the post.

    You must have a line manager though. They should advicse you as to what to do. Make them aware that if you have to add the software piecemeal it will take a lot more of your time than if you have it all up front.

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    As said above, you need some backing... preferably off SMT so that when the teachers moan at how things are set up they can be set straight.

    You'll also find it best to make sure that you are the only person with the permisssions cable of installing software - sounds obvious but...

    If the staff haven't given you media AND licences for software, you cannot install it and therefore they cannot use it.

    You should also write procedures for reporting faults, requesting improvements and buying software. These procedures should be approved by SMT and all the staff should be told about them during a staff meeting in adition to having paper copies given to them with a reply slip to say that they understand.

    While you are at it... don't forget your AUP... check the wiki for a ready-made one

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    and make sure that the policy for new software includes something similar to:

    1) Ask the IT Dept for advice about new software purchases
    2) IT Dept (and you) require a demo copy for evaluation before purchase.
    3) Anything that does not play nicely with the network or existing software will not be installed.
    4) If software packaging says "designed for Windows 95/98" we won't even bother testing it.
    5) Software houses should be made aware of network-specific requirements (schools tend to be more locked down at the desktop).

    .... which are our general rules. You may want to prepare a basic doc that outlines what the teacher / ICT coordinater needs to ask the software house.

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    harsh but true

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    Re: Teacher "Buy-In"

    Adding to Pete's list...

    All software should comply with Microsofts Guidelines for software
    - Executables in 'Program Files'
    - Application data which can roami in 'Application Data'
    - Application data which should not roam in 'Local Settings\Application Data'
    - User data storage defaults to 'My Documents'
    See Microsoft site for full details

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