Summary of #Eltchat 6/2/2013 “How can we help colleagues new to edtech without doing all the work for them?”

Greetings all – after another long absence from the blogosphere! – and welcome to my summary for the #Eltchat discussion that took place in our little corner of the Twitterverse on the 6th February 2013 at 9p.m.! (For more information about #Eltchat and how to participate, please click here.)

We all came together to discuss, aptly enough, edtech (or technology used for educational purposes) and, more specifically, how to help colleagues who are new to it without being, as @ciocas put it, “the girl who can’t say no”, and doing it all for them. (You know who you are, you motherly and fatherly types who can’t resist swooping to the rescue like knights in shining techy armour!)

In order to best figure out how to help colleagues become more autonomous with edtech, it was important understand why they are reluctant. Here are the varied and insightful reasons that were suggested:

Fear (related to the technology itself or, indeed, the scary evangelical users of it!):

– a key problem with getting new Ts on board the Tech Wagon is basically fear – they’re afraid of something going wrong in class. (@pjgallantary)

– I think the trouble with encouraging edtech to newbies can be OVERenthusiasm-coming across as a bit obsessed doesn’t get people on side! (@lauraahaha)

Time and the easy way out:

– For some Ts I think it’s a time issue, but others would rather me give them fish than teach them how to fish! (@cioccas)

– I think both colleagues and trainees can smell out a mother type who will always come to the rescue. (@Marisa_C)

Obscurity of purpose:

– It’s tricky with real technophobes-but I think the major obstacle is the “why” not the “how” – teachers need to see the benefits first. (@designerlessons)

Not enough presence in Initial Teacher Training:

– My CELTA course in 2008 had zero tech – I’ve always been a techie, and twitter inspired me more. (@Sandymillin)

– My course has a multimedia module but it’s an M.A. My  CELTA only taught a bit about the IWB iirc (@LizziePinard) [Disclaimer: my CELTA course may have had more, but the IWB is the only bit I can remember, so based on that I assume that tech wasn’t a major feature or I would remember more about it! And this was in 2009-2010 so it may be different now, of course.]


I suppose it also depends on work experience – i’ve yet to work in a tech’d up school (IWB etc). So have forgotten how to use IWB… (@LizziePinard)

Having thus considered the “why”, we were ready to tackle the “how” [Disclaimer: with ideas flying around at high speed, of course the “why” and the “how” was not quite so separated in the transcript, I just thought it would be a convenient way of organising things here!]

Here are the suggestions that were generated:

– My 1st thought is get them to watch things & then come to you with questions.  Easier to make one screencast than explain 20 times.(@ljp2010)

– More effective to do hands on training rather than just show and tell. (@Shaunwilden)

– Make a deal – ” I have time for two half hour tutorials – record me; take notes; etc but then you’re on your own”: be firm. (@Marisa_C)

– Perhaps get some peer teaching happening? (ljp2012)

– Is there a list of very basic literacies that we could make with links and all lead Ts there? (@Marisa_C)

– We have found also that a printed guide of some basics helps at start – we are used to online stuff doesn’t mean OK with new people (Marisa_C)

– I use things, then people ask me about them. When a few people have asked, I do a seminar. (@Sandymillin)

– Also wrote introductory blogposts for students that I can point teachers too as well, like for Quizlet. (@Sandymillin)

– I do a short session after our Monday lunchtime meeting. One task, or website per week … It isn’t always a new site- just a new way to use something sometimes (@SueAnnan)

– Best idea I have ever had though was to ask each one to undertake to research & PRESENT a tool – works wonders. (@Marisa_C)

– I actually think fewer sites the better – really get to know them (@Shaunwilden)

– I think a webquest that you create or a guide like the ones we made for facebook twitter & nings might be a good idea (@Marisa_C)

Then, of course, it was also important to consider a few principles for teaching teachers to use technology with their learners and, indeed, for using it ourselves:

– Teachers who are new to tech also need to focus on the pedagogical outcomes – is it useful, or is it tech for tech’s sake? (@lauraahaha)

– I think using #edtech always has to emphasise the WHY – for teachers as much as for students…eg.WHY should you bother investing time learning to use a tool? is the time invested worth the return?

– Tech MUST have clear pedagogical reason, not just because it’s brand shiny new (@pjgallantary)

–  Important to be able to teach without any tech? Never know where in the world teachers will end up (@idc74)

– There’s plenty of here-today-gone-tomorrow tech – in which case, best to be a discerning techie (@designerlessons)

– My 1st rule for tech use: can student access it? eg some smartphone app: if st doesn’t have smartphone, he/she is disadvantaged (pjgallantary)

–  I think in ITT, have to ensure trainees not dependent on tech to teach (@LizziePinard)

– Tech is ubiquitous and as useful as the teacher’s imagination allows it to be. Just so long as that objective is always clear (@designerlessons)

– Ts should always remember that the 1st bit of tech they have is pen and paper – new tech is a bonus…. (@Shaunwilden)

–  Ts should think “why” not just “what” for tech tools. (@LizziePinard)

– As somebody or other said about course books, tech tools make great slaves but terrible masters – something to that effect! (@LizziePinard)

“Where’s your back up plan?” should be written on every classroom computer. (@designerlessons)

The next question to be considered was: “So, which tech tool would you introduce first? which do you think is best/most important to start with?”

– Quizlet/Edmodo good – little effort required for lots of return, student engagement, and educational benefits too. (@Sandymillin)

– pen and paper – plan HOW you’re going to use tech first, and Why! (@pjgallantary)

– I find it best to work with what they [teachers] want to do with Ss, then show them tool to wrk with. (@cioccas)

– Microsoft Word. I was amazed at the teachers who didn’t know how to use it efficiently 🙂 (@SueAnnan)

– I’ve been pretty successful in pushing everyone in the department to use Moodle, and it has shown some very positive results (@MajorieRosenbe)

There’s a limit to how much can be covered in a hour, but we certainly attempted to push that! Nevertheless, time, as is its wont, finally ran out. So to conclude this summary, here is a list of all the useful links that were thrown up in the course of the discussion:

– For using Edmodo, @Sandymillin’s blogpost and @Naomishema’s blogpost

– Useful techy blogs:

@Grahamstanley’s blog

Russell Stannard’s website

Nik Peachey’s blog

– For using MS Word effectively

– A demo of blended learning by @pjgallantary

– A list of basic computer skills by @ljp2010

– @Sandymillin’s summary of an ELTchat discussion on webtools, full of useful links.

Using Technology in ELL Instruction | ColorΓ­n Colorado | (suggested by @yya2)

– Introductory blogposts for students that I can point teachers too as well, like for Quizlet (@sandymillin)

– My ‘a little and often”  post for edetch on courses (and staffrooms I guess) (@Marisa_C)

– the aPLaNet (Autonomous ‘Personal Learning Networks’ for Language Teachers) Self-Access Piloting Website – example of a web quest (shared by @Marisa_C)

Thanks to all contributors and to anybody who reads this, I hope you find this summary useful.  And: ** If you have any more ideas to add, useful websites/tools to share etc, please add them in the comments section!!** 🙂


2 thoughts on “Summary of #Eltchat 6/2/2013 “How can we help colleagues new to edtech without doing all the work for them?”

  1. Pingback: #ELTchat » How can we help colleagues new to edtech without doing all the work for them? #Eltchat Summmary 06/02/2013

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s