Did you see that cute little FROG? Good!
That my friend represents your teaching staff and colleagues alike.
Notice the blue flames licking the side of the pot and the bubbly water?
That HOT RABIDLY BOILING DEATH BATH represents the use of technology in the learning environment.
I imagine your colleagues, similar to mine, are in no way interested or feeling compelled to jump head first into a situation where they feel they will BURN UP AND DIE! They are quite content sitting just where they are away from the danger.
Granted, there is always at least one brave lil’ feller (you know who – yup image of their face coming to you now – and outward laughter) who will and frequently does jump right on in.
The rest of us however are NOT going to do it, we just aren’t!
Try as you might, we will climb, claw, hop right out of that situation, making a quick exit right back to our natural habitat. The place where everything has a comfortable rhythm that we ourselves have designed. Its perfect. And on those days when its not…well… you see a lot of closed doors while walking down the hallway.
So how on earth are we going to help foster a community of hot tub using frogs?
Slow and steady wins the race my friend, and sometimes you just have to TRICK them.
You watched the video, there was clearly some deception.
Too often our frog friends feel like they are being thrown into the deep end without any support. Being tossed into the ICT pool is no different. We must help our colleagues master their sense of worry and uncertainty that their learners (and ours) face daily. We have to put them in the just right pot, not too hot, not too cold (Thank you, Goldilocks!). The pot where the water is only half a degree warmer than their natural habitat.
The question is, how do you get them to even try out the just right pot?
Well I am a bit of a trickster, so I like to lure my froggy friends over to the pot. I catch them on a door open kind of day. Enter their habitat with exciting news that I just have to share. I make a solid connection on how cool and powerful the use of the technology was in my class. Then I point out how I think it would be even easier and produce better results with their students, because… well…I teach grade 1 and your kids have a greater skill set at this time than mine. Imagine the possibilities!
(As an aside….I have found this approach works across the subject areas!)
In honesty though, we need to provide them with ‘use right’ now technology options. Options that allow them to get comfortable with the idea of implementing them at all. It must be user friendly and in the pick up and GO format.
As we move up the heat dial, we need to begin by selecting options that do not require a lot of up front training. This is overwhelming. “What I am doing is working….I have so much on my plate already….” This commentary goes on. All of which are true anyone in education does have a lot going on. As such we are amazing at dodging optional training. Just like those freaked out deer on the road. One second your thinking your in for a hefty ICBC bill the next your asking…where did they go? Just like the deer on the road and the frog and the boiling water, teachers get spooked.
By turning on the heat slowly, we decrease the chance of them getting spooked and allow a mindset shift to occur. It puts the teacher (colleague) in a situation where they can then see themselves as future users.
Once this has been achieved that darn frog is going to stay in the pot. Even as we continue to slowly turn up the heat bit by bit, introducing new technology to its learning environment.
By now our little frog is feeling so comfortable and relaxed they begin inviting other frogs to join the pot. Before you know it its a regular old hot tub party.
Success! Just like our students, those little frogs were given time to see how it works for them. They were given time to process the change, and take the course of action they required to be successful. Actions such as attending inservice sessions or staff collaboration and dialogue…you name it. They were given the opportunity to adapt at the speed that made the most sense for them. You are bound to have a few jump out here and there along the way.
Have that net ready (support team)! Sometimes it is hard to catch a frog, they are slippery. However, If you have the right tools and you are willing to put in the time required. You’ll have that frog back in the pot in no time.
A June 22, 2012 blog post titled Growing Digital Teachers: Encouraging technology in the classroom really sums up my approach to how we keep the frog in the pot. You can give it a quick scan through here:
For more ideas check out the post How to Get Hesitant Teachers to Use Technology found on the Powerful Learning Practice: Professional learning for connected educators site. It is available here:
Good luck catching your frogs.
Ashlee – aka Frog Catcher in Training.