Teachers are an important part of the education technology puzzle, but sometimes their ideas and needs get lost in the shuffle. This is because teachers usually aren’t the ones funding new classroom computers, software and other technology initiatives. Before IT departments and school administrators spend thousands of dollars on new tech, they may want to consult the people who are going to use it the most: their teachers.
While students may spend an hour here and there using iPads, laptops, software applications or other tech tools, teachers will likely use them throughout the day. Some will get saddled with tech they don’t need, can’t use or that make their lives more difficult instead of easier. Meanwhile, IT departments are wasting money – and missing out on valuable insight – by not talking to instructors.
So, what can we do to get teachers more involved in the education technology decision-making process?
Getting teachers involved in IT decisions
- Create a teacher technology committee: Assemble a group of teachers who can take charge of evaluating what technology does and doesn’t work for the school. What are the gaps? What new tools do they need? This can go a long way toward getting their feedback and making smarter investments.
- Schedule a show and tell: School administrators could invite vendors, software developers or others to show teachers how their products work and answer questions about them. This could be a monthly learning session or an annual conference where teachers learn and give the school feedback about a variety of products.
- Conduct a survey: One simple way for schools to figure out what their teachers think is to ask them. Collecting data is a big step forward. Send out a survey and analyze it for trends. Use this information to allocate technology funds. This data will also be useful when explaining or trying to gain support for purchases later on.
- Set up field trips to other schools: Get your teachers to visit schools that have implemented technology effectively. This is a great way to get them thinking about new teaching tools. They can also gain valuable insights from other teachers. At the end of the field trip, have a roundtable discussion with the group about what they saw, liked, didn’t like and what they want to implement in their classrooms.
Ultimately, teachers know what they need best. If administrators and IT departments don’t take the time to consult them on the technology being bought, no one will benefit. Schools and IT departments could then be wasting precious funds on tools teachers and students won’t even use.
What do you think about these ideas for getting teachers more involved in IT purchasing decisions? What other ideas do you have? Please share your thoughts with us below or on our Facebook page!