Improving Technological Proficiency Across Your School District

tech proficiency meeting

Technological proficiency across the workforce has been a requirement in much of corporate America for decades. Companies are constantly looking for the best technology to equip their workforce with tools to gain maximum efficiency. 

Education, however,  always seems to be a bit late to the party when it comes to implementing new technology, and the reasons are completely understandable. Change is scary, and human nature tells us to get to our comfort zone and stay there. 

It is time, though, for districts and schools to finally jump on the technology bandwagon. For many, it has the ability to make some pretty remarkable improvements across the board.

What is Technological Proficiency?

Technological proficiency by definition is “the ability to use technology to communicate effectively and professionally, organize information, produce high-quality products, and enhance thinking skills.” 

Based on this definition it seems that technology and education could be a match made in heaven. However, preparing your administrators, teachers, staff and even students and their families is a lot easier said than done. We’ve put together a list of steps to help point you in the right direction.  

Find the right tools 

Education technology companies have been innovating at a rapid rate over the past couple of decades with no signs of slowing down, especially considering the shift to remote learning. 

At first, many teachers were reluctant to incorporate edtech companies such as Blackboard and Kahoot into their classroom, but time has shown that not only do these tools save teachers time, but they actually make for a more engaging learning environment for students

Talk to colleagues from around your district as well as neighboring districts to get a sense of which tools seem to be working the best for students. Chances are many of your teachers have already been experimenting with free versions of these tools for years and spending their own money to use them. 

Imagine how validating it will be if, based on their suggestion, a program they love is provided to the entire district for free?

Edtech companies do not stop at the classroom, however. In recent years innovators in this space have been making remarkable progress in developing tools that can make the district office just as smart as the classroom. Although these tools often don’t educate students directly, their positive impact can be felt by everyone from superintendents to students and parents.

Get buy-in from Your District Community 

Before implementing a new technology, it’s important to get everyone’s buy-in. Administrators, teachers and staff need to be involved in the decision making process. This will increase the likelihood that the software will actually be used, and teachers can pass their enthusiasm and knowledge of the product down to their students. After all, the biggest threat to making a real change isn’t that your chosen solution won’t work, but that people will not use it because they either don’t understand it, or are hesitant to embrace a change that they weren’t involved in. 

As is the case with many modern professions, technology in the classroom and the district office can make some educators feel less valued, as if they weren’t doing a good enough job on their own.  

It is imperative to explain that quite the opposite is true, and that these tools are being put in place  to make their lives easier, as well as provide students with the best possible education available. 

Explain to your teachers and staff that your goal is to prepare students for success in the modern world, and that begins with a modern education.

Set up Workshops and Make Resources Available 

Underutilization and improper utilization of new technology in the district is an issue as well, but one that can be easily managed. Once you’ve adopted the new technology, provide teachers and staff with continuous resources on how to get the most out of it. 

Technology is constantly changing so there will be plenty of updates to stay on top of!  A base knowledge of the software is important, but continuing the education is as necessary as continued professional development. It should happen regularly. 

Although some of this learning may happen at home, it may be a good idea to designate time for teachers and administrators to get together and learn about these tools as a group. If your district already has allotted time for continued professional development, utilize some of that time to sharpen technology skills. Make those meetings worth everyone’s while by incorporating learning that will actually be useful in the classroom.

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