Thursday, August 15, 2013

Reflections on New Teacher Technology Training

Every year in our district, like probably every other district in the country, new teachers have to attend a series of inservice classes, some of them at their campus, some in their curricular areas, and some with us in Technology. It's always a challenge for us to figure out how to best train the new teachers, because they won't have their own computer logins for a couple more days. When they can't log in,  it makes it close to impossible to show them our network! We've used a variety of methods in the past, none of which has worked terribly well.

This year we decided to use our TSP (technology super powers) to update our training model, and I have to say, I feel really good about how things went. We created a Google site based on our district's annual theme, with six different modules that teachers worked through on their own. One of my colleagues made a terrific "Scavenger Hunt" worksheet to go along with the Google site, and teachers had to fill in the blanks with pertinent information. We used the thinglink website (my current favorite web tool!) to create some great interactive graphics to show teachers images of things on the network that they couldn't see "in real life" without their network logins. We were also able to create some video tutorials using Screencast-o-matic.

I liked this model a lot and I think it worked well for us. Usually the new teachers are so overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information, their ears are practically bleeding by the end of the last day of training. In this year's model, we gave them a smaller amount of necessary technology information and mixed up the format from one module to the next. The questions on the scavenger hunt were very easy ones so teachers left feeling successful. They have pertinent information written down and a web address to refer back to when they finally do get their logins and can't remember what we said.

The highlight of my day was when one clearly tech-savvy new teacher said, "I came from ##### school district, and they like to promote themselves as being on the cutting edge of technology, but you guys are WAY ahead of them! I've just texted several friends to tell them about your training and that they should move here!" SCORE!

I'm wondering today what other districts do for New Teacher technology training. What problems have you encountered (with logins or otherwise), and how have you solved them? What have been your biggest successes? I hope to hear from you!


  1. I love your ideas and will be taking a peek at thinglink - the title alone makes me snicker! I use Thing 1 and Thing 2 to cue the kids so I can surely find a use for thinglink!

  2. Things never quite go the way we dreamed. I came across this art blog today and it dealt with the issues of technology not working. Check out

    You all are so patient and quick to respond. Glad you found a way to score with our new teachers.

    1. Oh Beth - that "it was a Monday" blog post made me laugh! Things you have NEVER seen before happen when you're in front of an audience. When I first started my current position (almost 7 years ago now!) I would be mortified when unexpected technology glitches happened. Now I can (usually) just laugh them off. Having a benevolent audience always helps!