Every project needs a champion. This rings true for initiatives launched in the workplace as well as the classroom. There are many ways a project champion can aid implementation, from acting as the strategic planner to taking on the role of cheerleader–plus everything in between. Without a champion, projects either never launch or they do so unsuccessfully, with everyone’s planning and preparation going to waste.
When it comes to implementing technology across a school or district, the role of the champion is all the more critical with thousands of dollars and children’s futures at stake. As with many educational initiatives, this job often (and should) falls upon instructional leaders who are in the position to mobilize and guide their teams.
At ThinkCERCA, we have had the opportunity to work alongside hundreds of districts and schools all with varying access to technology, blended learning initiatives, and needs. In working with these partners, we have stressed the following three tactics every instructional leader needs to follow in order to be a champion for technology in the classroom.
Your team is more likely to back an initiative if they understand its purpose and relevance to their day-to-day lives. Communications and marketing executive Georgia Everse recommends using the Inspire/Educate/Reinforce framework to communicate this effectively with your team.
As we pointed out in our “Personalizing Literacy Through Blended Learning” administrator guide, blended initiatives can start small while you are getting your team up to speed and testing what works. You do not have to incorporate technology into everything at once. For example, find one course where you can add 10 to 15 minutes of technology instruction and build up from there.
If your team feels adequately supported, they will be more committed to the blended initiative. Provide multiple trainings on the adopted technology as well as best practices for implementing it in the classroom effectively. Additionally, consider grouping teachers together by varying technology readiness levels so they can learn from one another. In these groups, encourage sharing of successes and failures to develop schoolwide best practices for incorporating technology into the classroom.