Ronald L. Abate
Many districts throughout the U.S. have made large purchases of laptops and/or tablets used to support instruction. Some schools have even provided one device per student. A commonly reported problem is the need to train teachers in the use of these computers. Not addressing this issue is a common reason for failure to integrate these devices into instruction. Teachers will need training. A number of approaches have been used:
1. Leaving the training to the vendor.
2. Use of a professional development day.
3. Use of a professional development day to introduce teachers to the devices, followed by ongoing training at the building level by local staff.
4. Ongoing training at the building level by local staff.
My experience as a K-12 trainer has resulted in the most success with #4. I used the following procedure.
1. Computers were distributed to teachers before students.
2. Teacher training took place daily or every other day one-half hour before students arrived.
3. Teachers were encouraged to start introducing computers to their class when they felt competent in their use.
4. Teachers were encouraged to seek help with issues during the before school training class.
This system has two major advantages: support and training is ongoing; and training is in small units and is distributed over time rather than all-at-once. Economic and educational benefits are realized by eliminating a professional development day. One more school day may be added to the calendar.