The best leadership establishes an environment in which expected outcomes occur spontaneously. Technology should never be forced on teachers; its use should never come as a mandate from on high. So, teachers must be given the opportunity to prepare for the kind of change that computer-based technology brings. The best leadership, therefore, enables teachers to become the best that they can be through consultation, collaboration, communication, support, respect, and encouragement.
Invest in, and train, a core team of teachers.
Teacher-computerists are men and women who are committed to using computer-based educational technology, and who have been given the opportunity to gain a sufficiently high level of expertise to qualify them to act as role models, advisors, and troubleshooters in matters having to do with computer-based educational technology. In every school, there should be one or more teacher-computerists, the number depending on the size of the school and, of course, on the school’s commitment to educational computing.
Teacher-computerists should be given adequate release time to fulfill the following roles and tasks:
- work with other teachers, as individuals or in groups, introducing them to new systems, arranging product demonstrations, and helping them with any technical or pedagogical problems that might arise;
- work with administration, planning near and long-range computing strategies, and mediating on behalf of teachers to help ensure that their needs are addressed;
- work with vendors (suppliers of hardware and software), organizing product demonstrations, making sure products are delivered as ordered and warranties are negotiated and fulfilled.
Teachers are the ideal people to work with other teachers because they understand their needs. Teachers who are also computerists will be further suited to help their colleagues learn about computers because they are trained as teachers, and have experience working with computing novices. They are therefore less likely to frighten off other teachers who might be timid about getting into the technology.
Ongoing technical support.
Technical support should be on site and on demand. Being on-site where you can respond to teachers’ needs “just-in-time” and build relationships with them so they are willing to invite you in, is so important. They will rarely call you if you are away for some reasons.
Practice makes perfect, as they say. Lack of practice can easily lead to the loss of previously acquired skills. There’s no point in providing training and technical support if the teachers are not ready and willing to apply newly acquired skills on a regular basis in their professional lives. Likewise, there is no point installing equipment such as a SmartBoard in a classroom if the teacher does not plan to use it with students to help them learn.
Article by: Busayo Tomoh