In the training that we have delivered in our South African schools, we find that there are many barriers to implementing new digital teaching tools in the classroom. Among those, we find that one of the largest barriers is that our teachers struggle with a lack of confidence in using the tools that are out there. We suggest 7 tips on effectively overcoming this barrier:
1. Play, play, play!
As teachers, we are happy to allow our children to learn through discovery and play however we hold ourselves to a different standard. Somehow, we think we should be the oracle of all information everywhere! The first key to building your confidence with a new tool is to play. Spend as much time as you can playing. The only way you can learn is to play and make mistakes. (Also use the free training resources and videos on our site to help you with the basics of hardware and software if you are unsure).
2. Use your new tool in one lesson a week
Choose one lesson a week to use the new tool in until your confidence grows. Whether you choose to use it for 5 minutes to introduce a topic in a lesson, or for an entire hour, it does not matter. Get it into the classroom, this is the only way you are going to know whether it can be used to enhance the pedagogical approach in your classroom. You will find that there are many resources that have already been created using the tools that are out there, leverage and adjust these if you are struggling to think of your own ideas.
3. Fail, fail, fail!
Do not be afraid to fail. How does a baby learn to walk? By stumbling and falling most of the time. Once again, we as teachers hold ourselves to a different standard than we hold our students to. Lead from the front, create the culture of learning you want for your classroom. Your classroom should be a safe space where mistakes are used for growth. Set the tone by allowing yourself to get it wrong once in a while.
4. Understand that it is nearly impossible to break the hardware or software
If this is one of your biggest fears, FEAR NOT! You can almost never break the hardware or software by using it for what it was designed for. If you click the wrong button, you can almost always hit undo, if you don't save things, your computer almost always has a fail safe system to catch this mistake. If you are not sure of this, check our resources on a technology that you may be using and find if there are ways to undo the mistakes you have created or if there is a way to go back and save.
5. Remember digital tools are designed to help you
Digital tools are designed to HELP not HINDER. Remember that the technology you are learning is designed to make your life easier. Keep reminding yourself of this so that this perspective can shape your use of the technology. It should make learning more interactive, more engaging, more seamless, and should free your time up to do more work in a shorter amount of time.
6. Involve your children in the learning process
You might find that you have one or two bright sparks in the class that seem to know more than you do about the technology you are learning. Get them to sit with you one or two breaks or days after school to help you with some basics. Once again your are setting a fantastic learning culture in your classroom by doing this. "How?" you ask. Well, in this way you allow your children to learn that asking for help is important; it's also okay to not know something; you are never too old to learn something new; and so many more life lessons.
7. Learn in team
Learning methodologies have evolved to include the importance of learning in groups. Find someone who is learning this tool as well and learn together. This way you can make learning it fun, and share your mistakes together. As a technology training company, we are here to support you in growing your confidence. We provide training that creates a safe atmosphere for teachers of all levels of skills to learn new tools to support their pedagogical approaches in the classroom. We also create a networking environment, encouraging teachers from different schools in different provinces to share resources and collaborate together to build a better learning environment.