Reason #2 That You Aren’t Selling Schools

Market Insight
Superintendents want two things: happy teachers and teachers who are getting tangible results (here’s how you deliver it)
By: 
LeiLani Cauthen

The fourth installment in our series is going to be short and sweet (I’m getting ready for ISTE!). But that doesn’t lessen its significance.

This one hits right where the rubber meets the road – practical user issues.

So let’s dive in. Today I’m focusing on point number two of the top 5 issues preventing adoption of digital curriculum and content:

1. Classrooms pedagogy professional development

2. Teacher device use training

3. Lack of adequate computing devices

4. Digital curriculum systems training

5. Instructional design/curriculum design professional development

Issue #2: Teacher Device Use Training.

By survey, this point is a huge issue, but not the way you might think.

I’m not talking about the how-to-turn-the-computing-device-on training. No, this is the how-to-walk-and-talk-with-it-in-your-hand-while-also-running-good-classroom-action. Those kids will bolt if given thirty seconds of teacher-with-back-turned opportunity, or smack their neighbor, or anything else that could be thought of when there is no supervision.

What teachers are really saying when they are saying they need device use training is a level of skill the average consumer doesn’t begin to approach with a device. This is could-navigate-by-touch-while-looking-at-and-conversing-with-Johnny level of skill, and knowing how to fix what can go wrong—at least minimally.

If you’re selling devices, consider that what is being asked for is similar to the “short-cuts” of the past, and what teachers want is very high return for each motion they are giving the machine. That the navigation to find something and use it is quick, preserving much needed instructional time.

We suggest, again, short how-to video clips and better-than-the-manufacturers-manual handbooks with lots of pictures. We also suggest a stepped (also known as “scaffolded” to the education industry) grades of users, well defined. The lowest grade is can-turn-it-on-and-use-email-and-surf and grades go up from there to skyping-and-apping, to word-and-powerpoint expert who can actually do single-loop animations and more. In other words, really basic up to basic.

If you really want to generate goodwill and return customers, devise ways that your company ensures teachers really know how to use devices.

This goes for computing devices, interactive whiteboards, projector equipment, smartphones, and often blends into basic applications.

Superintendents won’t fund more devices when they see no one is really using them to make a difference. Make sure what you sell makes a difference by ensuring real training and an ongoing newsletter of tips and tricks so simple that anyone can understand and use them.

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By: 
Charles Sosnik, Learning Counsel Editor