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EdTech Update




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Who are you missing when doing tech training?


For years I simply shook my head and sighed because our district-level secretaries insisted on using WordPerfect or MicrosoftWorks long after the rest of the district, including students, had moved on to Microsoft Office.

"Some people just can't change," I concluded.

It was only while moving our staff and student from using Office to GoogleDocs that it dawned on me that our district office clerical staff, unlike our building secretaries, has never had the opportunity to participate in any technology training opportunities.

I revised my conclusion to "People can't be expected to change if they aren't helped with the process."

This year our department is offering regularly scheduled training opportunities for these secretaries. So it only took me 20 years to figure this out - better late than never.

What I've been wondering about lately, however, is how many other groups I've neglected as Tech Director in planning training in our organization. If we truly want to move to a more paperless, collaborative and transparent workplace, might these work groups also need some help with some tech skills?

  • Custodial and maintenance staff
  • Community education workers
  • Paraprofessionals and aides
  • District administrators/directors
  • School board members
  • Parent/community volunteers

I can certainly see the need to do training for all these folks in e-mail, online calendars, and GoogleDocs (as we use it for an increasing number of templates replacing paper forms). How many may need real basic kinds of skill in using a browser? How many could use more information on policies related to Internet use in the district? How to use our VOIP phone systems?

When teachers and building administrators comprise the bulk of your staff, you tend to focus on their training needs. But we've got to start thinking about everyone.

How does your district address the tech training needs for these important, but too often overlooked, workers?

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Reader Comments (2)

Great reminder, Doug. One of the big problems I faced with trying to help many of these folks is that they are hourly workers and with the budget situations as they are, many schools are not willing to training for hourly workers. Occasionally I was able to schedule work hours training, but too often district administrators suggested we do after school sessions - which are difficult with child care issues etc. I did a lot of reminding about help screens and video tutorial web sites.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTim Staal

A student that I've known for a very long time has told me that there are teachers that have a good impact on students even those who don't like to attend class - this relates to your conclusion. When a teacher guides or does his/her job to help a student to excel, it is more likely that the student strives to do better.

November 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Eggbert

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