This article from The Guardian (click link above) is right up my street and close to my heart. It’s a simple short one about how colleges can improve their communications using digital technologies (as the title suggests). Not only in teaching but in other jobs I’ve seen so much wasted time and effort and so much time (and time’s money right?) just lost because people don’t use the huge bank of resources out there to communicate and share ‘stuff’.
I like that it looks not only at communications with the learners which is hugely important but how it can be better used to assist in communications between team members, in recruitment and in staff development.
Most of these I use or have used and can only applaud the merits. Sometimes we imagine how teenagers or any aged learner will react or respond to different or new technology, I remember the first time I used Twiddla how I anticipated chaos, anonymous drawings of a not very academic kind and all kinds of shenanigans and I was so right! Oh my, I had to turn off the interactive white board at one point in case anyone important walked by and saw my lesson had apparently descended into chaos.
BUT, but, but… I anticipated this. What was I doing? In short I was giving a group of 18 teenagers a blank joint graffiti wall and they did exactly what I expected them to do. There was nothing hugely offensive and so I laughed along, feigned surprise and distaste, wondered who had contributed what (when I obviously knew) let them get it out of their system, called them to order, wiped the board clean as their laughter subsided and they without realising it became a closer knit team and they started to engage and use it as I had intended as a valuable teaching and learning resource. I was really, really, hugely pleased the day I heard a group who were working together on a project mention the work they’d done on Padlet from their respective homes the night before after having used it in a couple of lessons. Hallelujah! Breakthrough moment right there. You know one of those teacher, ears prick up grasp it and ask them to share moments? Wonderful.
Don’t underestimate or overestimate how your students might respond to new tech they might surprise you and they might not but either way you’re prepared to deal with it. They will, in my experience at least, probably be more embracing of it than your colleagues. I don’t mean my colleagues when I was on placement by that, I mean from my experience of colleagues in past jobs where something new had been attempted.
One piece of advice is to not just tell them about it, do some donkey work in advance and show them it in action exampling how it can save time and effort and you’re more likely to have less resistant converts on your hands.