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How to Motivate Educators in New Technologies

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  • Sam R.

    Thanks to Denis and Danyelle for organizing the meet-up. As an indication of the participants' commitment, we talked for three hours (not an indication of the length of future meet-ups) without a dull moment.

    Bill, it was a pleasure to meet you. I read your postings and your paper carefully. As I said yesterday, I admire the scope and the intensity of your goals. My approach, in contrast, is to focus my resources on a single goal, which is what I'm doing with my video series, "Teaching Lego Mindstorms," on which I've begun production. The overlap between our two approaches, Bill, rests in your observation that "teachers... often feel overwhelmed just keeping up with their daily lives... [and]... do not feel they have time to deal with anything new...."

    If anyone out there is interested in the implementation of Lego Mindstorms as part of the technology curriculum, I'd appreciate hearing from you. Thanks!

    March 21, 2014

  • Bill G.

    This is a continuation of the previous post.

    For a solution to even be considered, it must generally:
    1. significantly improve student outcomes
    2. make life significantly easier for the teacher
    3. not involve (or only minimally involve) others in the school to implement (not get caught up in school bureaucracy)
    4. have no downside risk related to failure
    5. take almost no effort to implement and no effort to discontinue
    6. etc.

    Having said this, it is still possible to win teachers as fans of an approach so that a "hunger" for a solution can be initiated and fed.

    I posted a copy of a paper that describes one way of thinking about learning management systems in the classroom from the teacher perspective in the Files section under Moore in the menu above.

    March 20, 2014

    • Bill G.

      (Part 2 - cont.)
      Phase 2 is to play the game of "if you had a magic wand, what would you wish for?" Once you disqualify wishing all the students were prepared and quick learners ;-), high on the wish list would probably be a way to know where each student is in their learning process and who is having difficulty without having to expend a lot of effort in quizzes and looking over their shoulders in class exercises to identify those needing help a exactly the current moment (so you can intervene with those students while the problem is fresh in their mind). One could probably then guide the conversation along the lines of, ok, if you had that, how about something that would handle the most simple, common, frequent and routine difficulties a student is having automatically so that they the teacher could concentrate on the real problems. Most teachers would probably agree with all these point (keep in mind we are still talking about wishing and fantasy at this point.
      (cont. in part 3)

      March 21, 2014

    • Bill G.

      (Part 3 - cont.)

      The idea is that one could work with these teachers fleshing out their wish solution. Once the wish system is solidified, and drilled deep into the teacher's mind, now one can start to evaluate solutions against that wish vision.

      Basically, now you are not trying to push something on them, you are only helping them get what they are convinced they would like to have.

      This is under the headline of "How to motivate teachers for new technologies."

      (By the way, if the teachers do not rally around the problems the technology can help with, then perhaps that technology is not the best solution after all.)


      March 21, 2014

  • Dolores

    Sorry, I will miss this exciting meet up. Thursdays do not work for me. I have 2 live virtual classes that I teach on Thursdays. Please do keep me updated.

    2 · March 17, 2014

  • Bill G.

    I think the topic of how we can motivate teachers to more quickly adopt new solutions, especially those involving technology.

    The first issue is even getting the attention of many teachers who often feel overwhelmed just keeping up with their daily lives. But assuming that can be achieved, the next issue is that many teachers do not feel they have time to deal with anything new. It is the old challenge of "do you stop fighting the alligators to take time to drain the swamp, or do you simply continue fighting the alligators forever." Of course the implied risk is that if you stop fighting the alligators to drain the swamp they might eat you before you get the swamp drained.

    I think the approach that might work is to focus on the daily time challenges that most teachers can immediately identify with. Then one can expand to fantasy solutions they can laughingly agree they would like and only then move to solutions that are here now that can deliver some of that.


    March 20, 2014

  • Denis Z.

    Since there is a low number of attendees, tomorrow a location will be posted more neutral for the attending parties.

    March 18, 2014

  • Sam R.

    I have lots to talk about, including my digital overhaul of a Harvard course and my educational video series on Lego Mindstorms. More important, I look forward to meeting members of the group and learning about their projects. Thanks.

    1 · March 17, 2014

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