How to Get Your Colleagues to Buy-in to Innovation
It’s Monday morning and you’re actually excited about it. You’ve just taught the most awesome lesson incorporating the latest technologies and best practices. You and your students totally rocked it! You’ve even left the door wide open, hoping someone might even pop in.
The only problem is, your colleague next door couldn’t care less. Why are they not as interested or excited as you about innovating? Are you a lone wolf out here? What else can you do to convince them that your ideas kick butt? How do you motivate your colleagues and create teacher buy-in to new technologies and methods?
1. Send out your save the dates.
Sometimes leading by example just isn’t enough. People might catch a few glimpses of you experimenting with innovative ideas, but they really need to see the whole picture. Invite people in to watch you teach. You can even ask them for feedback so they’re more invested in the observation. If schedules make it challenging for observations, you can also record your lesson and share it virtually. Be sure to include admins and anyone that can help to support your ideas.
2. Show and don’t tell too much.
At the next staff or team meeting, share one really solid, adaptable idea with your colleagues. The idea should be quick and easy and not heavily tied to specific content. Consider something innovative you could share that can easily compliment work your colleagues are already doing and that they already have the resources for. Keep it short and sweet and avoid talking on and on so you don’t lose or overwhelm your audience. This is your chance to empower your coworkers!
3. Make it visible.
Showing off student work is a great way to get people interested in what you're doing. For instance, you can share digital projects or portfolios and show how accessible and easy it is to store and share work. You might even show off a creative coding project students are working on. When you share student work, people will naturally start asking questions that will lead to better discussions around tech and innovation. Let the work speak for itself.
4. Ask for help and involve others.
You're doing awesome work, but you can't possibly know everything. Lean on other teachers and admins. Even if your coworkers feel their technology skills are limited, they can still be great problems solvers. Let others get invested in a challenge you're facing to help build their confidence. Show that you don't know everything either, but that you're willing to learn.
For example, teachers who are great at organizing can help you to come up with solutions for managing the technology in your classroom. Teachers with great classroom management skills can help you come up with technology expectations for students to follow.
5. Keep innovating and experimenting.
Even if others are skeptical or hesitant about using technology in the classroom, that shouldn’t stop you. While at times it might seem like people aren’t noticing your cool ideas, the more you continue to innovate, experiment, and share what you are doing, the better chance you have at piquing others’ interest.
Most teachers strive to provide optimal educational environments and learning experiences for their students. With the continual development of edtech, our teachers need to feel empowered, autonomous, and enthusiastic about adopting new technology. Any opportunity you can provide to help others build confidence will go a long way!