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2 Ways You Can Better Introduce Your Teachers To New Technology

While a prevalent opinion about technology is that it can often get in the way of education, it can be extremely effective at enabling education as well. Proper use of technology (especially in the hands of the educator) can be an effective teaching tool. But new tech alone isn’t enough.

Even if your teachers are good at what they do, they’ll be less effective at teaching if they’re not familiar with the technology that they use. This is already a problem with already existing tech, especially if your teachers aren’t too familiar with newer technology like augmented reality or analytics.

So what are your options? It’s simple: teach your teachers. With proper instruction and guidance, they can effectively use the tools at their disposal, which creates a better learning environment for their learners. While the specifics of this process can differ on the technology used, there are two things you can do to make the process easier. 

Write A Personalized Training Handbook

Very few tools don’t come with a training guide – and in many cases, those instructions alone may be enough for your teachers to familiarize themselves with their new tools. However, adding a personal touch and a little more investment will always pay off more. All that you need to do is to make sure that your training guide actually reflects the day-to-day reality of using your tools.

1) Basic Operations

In simpler terms, this is where you outline how to use your tool from start to finish. Getting these basics out of the way is key to eventually mastering the tool in question; and presenting a flowchart or checklist of things to go through before, during, and after use can make it a lot easier.

Questions to ask yourself when creating this section include:

  • What login credentials or accompanying security permissions are involved
  • Any prompts or time-sensitive triggers
  • Device compatibilities and limitations
  • Best-use cases for the tool
  • Breakdowns on each section of your tool’s user interface

2) Personalized Notes

Ideally, someone in your company or organization should take charge of learning how to use a new tool, so you can have at least one expert when the rest of your teachers use it. One of the best reasons to do this is they get to have a dry run of the tool’s capabilities (or limitations), then use their experiences to inform the rest of your team.

Some forms of these personalized notes may include:

  • Troubleshooting tips for common technical issues or limitations
  • Recommendations on the best setup for using the tool
  • Specific comments on difficult-to-use aspects of the tool
  • Contact numbers of any experienced users that can be consulted
  • Useful observations about using the tool in day-to-day operations

3) Include Visual Aids

A mistake that some included training manuals still make is to make their content completely text-based. Not only will this lower retention of the info in the manual, but it can also make it a confusing document to reference in a hurry. By creating your own training manual – and including visual aids and references – your teachers will have an easier time learning your new tools.

Some visual aids include:

  • Video tutorials on how to use the tool in a classroom setting
  • Flowcharts that answer if-when case scenarios when using the tool
  • Pictures on how to operate the hardware, if applicable
  • Highlights of essential sections or processes of the UI
  • Graphics to break up sections with long content

Create An FAQ Manual

An FAQ manual is another useful addition to help your teachers learn new technology – and while it does have some overlap with a training handbook, it’s a more specialized document that’s far more accessible.

What’s the difference? You can think of a training handbook as something your teachers will use when learning the tool: it’ll contain everything they need to know about how to operate the hardware, use the software, and apply it to their classes. In contrast, an FAQ manual is designed to be a reference for day-to-day concerns with using the tools in question.

Typically, FAQ manuals can include:

  • Troubleshooting tips. For any bugs with software (or proper ways to operate hardware), an FAQ manual is generally the best place to put these in. It can be updated easily if any new problems are encountered, or any old ones are resolved.
  • Shortcuts to commonly-used processes and procedures. If your teachers only use a specific part of the platform or software, you can include shortcuts for them to easily access these features. If you’re dealing with hardware, you can also include shortcuts on how to better handle or use any devices.
  • Emergency protocols. While this is usually more common with sensitive information or software, emergency protocols are still a good last-resort measure to include in FAQ documents. This way, your teachers will know what to do (or who to contact) in case of service failure or other unexpected situations.
  • Security policies and permissions. Training handbooks give the basics of what your teachers need to know about your IT infrastructure – but in case they need a refresher, FAQ manuals are a great way to keep the information in one place. Keep in mind that this should only talk about policies and procedures: credentials like login information should never be circulated with internal company documents.
  • External resources. There are occasions when other organizations, websites, or documents can give you useful information about operating your tools. If your teachers are looking to continue their education or expertise by using your tools, this section will come in handy.

FAQ manuals should be written more like a document or checklist – it’s something that your teachers may refer to frequently, with the intent of finding the answers to their questions fast. It requires a lot more concise writing compared to training handbooks and already assumes the user is somewhat familiar with the tool in question.

New Technologies, New Training

Educators having access to new training tools means a higher quality of education for their students – but to do this, they need to educate themselves on how their new tools work. By creating training manuals, introducing them to processes for their use, and promoting best practices, you can improve your education services overall.

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