Five tips to help you deal with the technophobes in your school
As an IT professional working in a school or college, there will be members of staff who are very familiar to you for the wrong reasons. The technophobes. When introducing new technologies, getting buy-in from this group is one of your biggest challenges.
Maybe you wish that staff could embrace new gadgets, software and apps as effortlessly as pupils seem to? Or that all teachers were as eager to adopt new tech into the classroom as the Millennials who have grown-up with smartphones and Facebook?
However you feel, it’s our role as IT professionals to help everyone master the systems they need to do their job, so how can you make new tech adoption easier for techno-fearing staff?
1. Help them see the potential
Whilst the benefits of adopting the latest classroom technologies are clear to you, this may not be the case for our technophobic friends. It’s tempting just to dive into the details, but when introducing a new technology it’s important to start by explaining the benefits it will bring; how it will make their job easier, improve teaching and learning, save time, and so on. It’s much easier to teach an old dog new tricks if the rewards are clear.
2. Ditch the jargon
A sure-fire way to get off on the wrong foot is to use words such as virtulisation, cloud computing and bandwidth. And if you really want to rub them up the wrong way, you can rattle off a bunch of three-letter-acronyms (TLAs!); ROM, RAM, LAN, WAN, RSS, SSD, SSO, ISP, TFT, URL… you get the picture. Whilst this is everyday language to IT professionals, most people don’t care how it works and just want you to show them how to use it in plain, simple English.
3. See it from their perspective
Like Marmite, skinny jeans and Justin Bieber, technology isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and can feel as foreign to them as particle physic to you. Added to that, it’s human nature to be skeptical of change, so you shouldn’t be surprised if you face resistance. Put yourself in the shoes of the end user: What pressures are they under? How will this change the way they work? What new skills will they need to learn? The better you understand the reluctant-adopters, the easier you will find it to work with them and change them into advocates.
4. Choose the right tech
Why make your job more difficult? Great technology is intuitive and easy-to-use: these should be key factors in any purchasing decision for your school. Look for solutions that integrate many school platforms into a single interface and work across multiple devices – even your most tech savvy colleagues will appreciate this! Having to remember multiple passwords is a big frustration of many users (and a strain on helpdesk staff) so why not look for technologies that enable single sign on – making everyone’s life easier. (At this point it would be remise of us not to plug Magellan, the universal education portal, find out more here).
5. Keep calm and take small steps
Whether you keep it bottled-up or let it all out, frustration is counter productive for you and the person you are trying to help. Keep calm and give clear, logical advice. Work towards gradual, small wins rather than stretching too far in a single step. Only teach features that the user will actually need to use. Help them master the basics and they’ll soon feel confident to tackle more advanced functionality.
Most of all work together, not against each other, and enjoy it. Helping someone achieve something they thought they couldn’t do is very satisfying.
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Magellan from CSE
The universal portal for education, providing simple access to local and cloud resources from any device through a single interface.
• Supports BYOD and device independence
• Anywhere, anytime access
• Supports learning and engagement
• Supports hybrid cloud computing
• IOS and Android apps available