If a picture paints a thousand words?

One of the joys of this job is the look on the face of a member of staff once they ‘get it’ when it comes to using technology in the classroom.  Too many times I have been to deliver a training session on Moodle or some other eLearning application and all i see are the eyes glazing over of the people who, mostly, have been told to attend by their managers.

This year we have started on a new way of training.  No longer are we putting on sessions at 3pm on a tuesday or lunch on a wednesday and expecting people to turn up.  The new ethos of our department is “We will come and train you when it suits you”  Our biggest fear of this approach was would it work?  Did people want to be trained?  The first few months of this ethos seemed to show that we had got this monumentally wrong.  It looked like people only come to technology enhanced training when they were forced to.  Our shining new example of delivery was on the backfoot.

This made us think again about how to get our message and training out to the staff.  As the saying goes A picture paints a thousand words.  Thats all well and good but how many words does a video paint?  We started filming mini interviews from those teachers who really ‘got it’ and realised that technology was just helping the staff as much as the student.  One of the first was a sports teacher Henry Bryan who loves Google.

We posted this onto our college community page and a funny thing happened.  We got a phone call from a teacher saying they had seen this and wanted to know more.  One of my staff met up with them and after 20 minutes that teacher had the same look of awe on their face at how they could do so much more with technology than they thought they could.  Then another person got in touch saying that people were using Google Classroom and it looked pretty good and how could she get help with it.

Rather than us calling people and telling them we had all this training we could give them when they wanted it, the catalyst for training came from the other teachers and staff members talking about technology and our department.  Coupled with the fact that if a teacher wants training we will go to their staff room at a time that suits them we have now been asked into a number of curriculum areas where we couldn’t even get them to open the door before hand. So our new style of training is working, we just needed to find a better way to kickstart it.

So if anyone is unsure as to whether the effort of making videos is worth it, I can say hand on heart that it has revolutionised our department. And the video above was filmed in about 2 minutes using an iPhone 6s so it wasn’t that much effort anyway. We now try and film at least one video a week highlighting how a single teacher has found technology has helped.  So if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth ten times that.

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