Rod Rock on Technology Adoption: My District Didn't Just Buy New A/V Equipment and Offer Professional Development to Teachers. We Removed All Our Outdated Equipment

Article excerpt

OK, your district has just approved the purchase of new technology that will greatly enhance the classroom-learning environment Now, the big question is: How do you make sure your teachers are actually going to use the equipment?

I faced just this quandary when my district outfitted each elementary classroom with a document camera, a ceiling-mounted video projection unit, a voice enhancement system and a DVD/VCR, all of which are interconnected with Internet access.

Our administration made it clear teachers would have to use the new equipment, and, of course, offered ample professional development to show them how to do so. But we went one step further to get compliance. We eliminated their outdated equipment.

That's right, we cleared these newly outfitted classrooms of overhead projectors, pull-down maps and outdated computers. After the first few days of the new school year, teachers requested the return of wall-mounted maps. The principal responded by demonstrating to teachers the ability to use the video projection unit to display Internet map sites on the large presentation screen in the classroom. Teachers could easily see the advantages of quick accessibility of real-time information; the large, clear depiction through the ceiling-mounted projection unit; and the ability to zoom in on specific details.

In-classroom Training

We didn't stop there. To enhance the effectiveness of our new technology, administrators and teachers worked together to implement a new professional development schedule. Two mornings each month, teachers meet in each other's classrooms to share effective uses of the new technology. This has proven to be a great way for teachers to become comfortable with the new equipment.

Rethinking Teacher Evaluations

We also reconsidered our traditional mode of teacher evaluation. The principal offered teams of teachers the opportunity to work together on a year-long action research project of their choosing. One group of teachers studied the feasibility of using virtual fieldtrips through the local Regional Educational Media Center. …