We are all familiar with feelings of stress about technology – whether they’re our own feelings or those of our colleagues. We’ve all had to coach a colleague or team member through some kind of tech emergency and we know it’s often much more than just the technology that’s causing the problem.

In an upcoming episode of the #coachbetter podcast, I chat with Sarah Glimore, co-author of Integrating Technology: a holistic framework for schools, and she shared such a powerful strategy for getting at the source of that stress, that I asked if I could share it separately as a 5 Min Fri guest episode!

A Framework for Exploring Teacher Stress About Technology

Sarah says: “Teachers often feel wildly uncomfortable with having things being assigned to them, using the tools this way, receiving feedback.” It’s important that they recognize that this discomfort is growth. They’re feeling it for the first time, they never had that change, as a student. That is one of the most effective powerful ways to get them in that space: learning in the way we’re expecting them to teach.

When you’re teaching with tech and it goes wrong, how does it feel? How do you feel when you go on a field trip and it rains? How do you feel when you’ve planned this great lesson, and the students get pulled out for an assembly or game, etc? What is it about the experience of tech that is so triggering emotionally that you feel it reflects on you as an educator, in a way that other challenges don’t?

As Sarah says, “At what point do you say we’re not doing tech support anymore? At what point do we expect you to google it? We need to explore “why are we still here?” We need to take it all out of the box and lay it out and unpack it. Things I can’t change, things I can. What would it take for you to feel safe?”

It’s important to note that this is not a quick process, and it will go in phases. Let’s break them down below:

Phase 1: Mindset

Introduce the idea that you have a mindset. Your mindset is a product of your experiences, and your mindset is valid. However, we’re all here as teachers and there are expectations that we have to meet. So we’re going to unpack your mindset.

Unpacking Strategy: Gallery Walk to Unpack Teacher Experiences, including:

  • Personal experiences: Did you use tech growing up? What does tech look like in your life? Do your children use tech? 
  • Professional experiences: Do you trust the tech in the school? Do you have sufficient resources? Do the resources you have support the curriculum you’re expected to teach? What happens when you ask for support?
  • Personal and Professional beliefs around tech: Is play on a screen as good as play outside? Is reading on a tablet as good as reading a book?

Phase 2: Unpacking Unconscious Bias

Have teachers think about their mindset and label it. Use Padlet or big paper and ask teachers to put their mindset on a continuum. Choose an adjective that describes what your mindset is. Find a gif that communicates that and place it on the continuum (positive to negative)

Reflect on your “word”: Which specific elements of your experience are the most important in building your mindset today. Create a mindmap of where you’re at, at this point in time.

Phase 3: Identifying Points of Control

From there, identify what is in the teachers locus of control. Ask “what can I affect?” What can I say “this is holding back my practice?” and what can I do about that? Empower teachers to make the choice to move forward and work towards changing their beliefs and mindset

Time Needed

Give it a whole two hours: a morning PD session and really delve into it. Ask those guiding open questions. They get the most out of that versus listening to you. Talking to each other helps them feel a lot safer and allows us to take away the shame and secrecy.

Watch the 5 Min Fri Video

Time to Level Up YOUR Tech Skills?

Join our 13th online cohort of the Certificate of Educational Technology and Information Literacy (COETAIL) right now! COETAIL embraces a community approach to learning that empowers you to adapt and transform your practice in order to positively impact learning for all students. This year-and-a-half long microcredential program will take you from curious but cautious to an expert facilitator of technology in the classroom. Plus, you will join the global community of thousands of COETAIL graduates, along with the your individual Online 13 cohort! Our cohort facilitators are caring, experienced and well connected to support you in your learning journey! And if you’re already a grad, and have colleagues who are ready to level up their tech skills, share COETAIL with them! Learn more here:

Support Your Colleagues Even Better This Academic Year!

If designing better professional learning is something  you’re ready to work on and develop over the next academic year, join us for our fifth cohort of The Coach Microcredential! This is exactly the kind of conversation (and task) that we explore as part of our academic year long mentorship program. When you join, not only do you get a mentor for the entire academic year, but you get lifetime access to the highly curated content inside the course.  Plus a global cohort of colleagues to learn with! Check out the link below or reach out to us on any of our social media platforms!