3. Find free apps and demonstrate how to use them. Modeling class activities
in a group setting will help build teacher confidence and provide ideas they can
use with their students. Modeling will ensure that teachers are comfortable us-
ing the device. Plus, teachers leave the training sessions feeling less intimidated
by the device and better equipped with ideas to add to their lesson plans.
During a recent hands-on mobile device training session, the teachers used a
free app to create projects that their students would later be using in class. The
facilitator modeled the lesson by demonstrating how to use the app to make a
two-minute video using images related to a science unit. After creating their vid-
eos using the app, the teachers gave a presentation just as their students would do
in class, describing how the images they selected related to the science unit.
Follow up with the teachers during the school year to ensure they are incor-
porating the apps that were demonstrated. As questions arise and teachers need
assistance, answer via email and by visiting their classrooms.
4. Establish an internal blog for teachers. This is a way for educators to share
ideas, lessons, tips, and experiences. The blog should serve as a forum for teachers to post comments and partner with colleagues. For example, technology pilot programs are often incorporated in a single grade level at multiple campuses
districtwide. The blog establishes an instant connection among teachers who
are not teaching in the same geographic area. Blogging offers teachers flexibility
to join the virtual conversation when it is convenient for them. Blogging builds
camaraderie among teachers and provides additional support.
5. Create a climate where innovation is valued. Encourage teachers to explore
and take risks. Give them freedom to try new techniques in the classroom and
create a campus environment where failures are regarded as learning opportunities. A particular failure might be tweaked and become a huge success that all
teachers can benefit from.
Take, for example, a sixth grade teacher who streamlined a process and
turned a mobile device headache into a success. Initially, the teacher had all 28
students per class connect their mobile devices to chargers one by one prior to
dismissal. It was a time-consuming process because students had to be careful
not to break the delicate charging pin. As a result, many of the students were
late to their next classes.
Once the teacher realized that the devices could hold a charge all day,
she had them quickly set them on the charging station. This change increased the amount of instructional time and made the dismissal go much more
Providing teachers with flexibility to try new concepts and ideas motivates,
empowers, and challenges them to become better educators who are equipped
with new skills to engage their students in learning.
It does not matter if you are
implementing laptops, tablets, or
some other device—these tips can
be useful in any classroom. Once you
put a new technological device into
the hands of your teachers and provide professional development training and support, you will discover
that soon those frantic and doubt-filled expressions of “Oh no!” will be
replaced by “Oh wow!” exclamations
from well-prepared, tech-savvy
—Staci Stanfield is the director of communications
for the Tomball Independent School District, in
Tomball, Texas. She has worked in education for
14 years. In May, she earned a doctorate of education in educational leadership at Lamar University.
It does not matter if you are
implementing laptops, tablets,
or some other device—these tips
can be useful in any classroom.