To make the best of any software in a school, it’s important that usage rates be as high as possible. This is not only important for maintaining consistency, but to get the greatest value for money. In addition, the inconsistency of different pieces of software within the school can confuse less technologically engaged teachers.
Most schools have had a history of new technologies being the ‘flavour of the month’ - being purchased, implemented inconsistently, and usage decreases to the point that only the most enthusiastic teachers are engaged. Maintaining 100% usage of a product comes not just from choosing a product that’s intuitive for every user and is easy to understand; it’s equally important to have available support channels for when users come up against barriers to being able to use the product effectively, and to provide them with effective staff training.
No one knows better the functionality and benefits of a piece of software, than the company that created it. In general, you can trust them to understand not just the best aspects of the product, but how it fits into a school setting. Many companies will provide training for staff along with their product but it’s important to ascertain the method by which the training will be delivered. The most effective method will usually be delivery of training on-site, to all staff using the new technology. This cuts down on the dilution of key messages that can happen when training is delivered remotely, especially if the training is then ‘cascaded’ from one staff member to the rest.
If a company doesn’t provide training as part of their licence, consider carefully the purchase of additional training. A small cost-saving measure in the short run (deciding to have internal training instead) can impact the long term adoption of the product, and the cost to the school of losing the impact of the product will likely be far greater than the expense of a training session.
Additionally, the confidence of the external trainer in being able to deliver training to a standard over-and-above that of internal staff will, in turn, positively impact the confidence of your staff in using it. They are also a direct link back to the software’s developers, and the feedback they hear will potentially directly impact the future direction of the software.
Training is one of the most important ways to ensure technology will make an impact on your school. A relatively small upfront cost can guarantee the greatest value for money in the long term.