Having new technologies in the classroom looks great on paper. It also looks great in brochures and any other marketing that your school is going to do. To see a large lecture hall with a whiteboard, multiple projector screens, and a teacher using a tablet looks a lot better than a classroom with an overhead projector with old transparency papers and students squinting to see what is actually being displayed on an old prop-up screen.
This is great news for the school and classrooms. Great news for the students as well. However, for instructors (teachers, faculty, etc.), it can be a nightmare without proper training. Not everyone is tech savvy, and not everyone can adapt over a short period of time. What needs to be done is training. Here’s how the training needs to be done (or a suggested way).
1) Make contact with everyone who would be potentially using the technology. Be transparent with them in what technology is going in but don’t be fully transparent. I know this sounds bad, but do not give out model numbers and that sort of information. What I have found to happen in the past is that some instructors will read reviews online or do in-depth research and then come back and complain about what they read from someone else. This can slow down the process and if (which has happened before) they hit reply-all, then it can really start of the training in the a negative way. In your contact email, just highlight all the positive. For example, we have new computers with touch screen monitors that will allow instructors to do X, Y, and Z.
2) During this initial contact, offer a training session for the instructors to actually get their hands dirty and to play with the stuff. Make sure to have donuts/coffee or some kind of snacks. This seems to always help draw people in to come to the training sessions. Also, offer these sessions at multiple times.
3) This may sound obvious, but offer the training session BEFORE the semester or school year starts. You might not get a lot of people, but at least that covers your end in that you offered the training. Then after the semester starts, offer even more training. I would suggest two sessions before (same content, just different times), and then two sessions after (again, same content, just at different times).
4) Create a training manual and host it somewhere online. You can also send this training material out with the emails that you send. Using a new CMS/LMS? Create a manual that has instructions on all the new features and a step-by-step how to on using it. New projector in the classroom? Create a document on how to switch from the computer to the project to the laptop, etc. New whiteboard? Create a laminate that is in the classroom on how to turn it on/off, show content, erase content, etc.
When implementing new technologies in the classroom, you cannot overlook the training portion. Instructors need to know how to use it in order to use it properly and successfully.