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4 ways to make your educational technology facilities more inviting

How do you ensure that the ICT facilities at your school are attractive enough to be used by pupils and staff? Even if your school has a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) scheme or a tablet-centred 1:1 scheme in place, you will want to ensure that the school’s own stuff is being used as fully and as effectively as possible. What can you, the ICT Co-ordinator/e-learning co-ordinator/senior leader in charge of ICT in the curriculum, do to help make that happen? Here are some suggestions.

ALL technology should be encouraged! Photo by Mike Licht

Tell people what’s available

People don’t know what they don’t know. A list of facilities in the staff handbook, a notice in the weekly staff bulletin, an area on the staff noticeboard, a blog post on the staff online area – all can be used to let people know what there is, what has recently been acquired, and how to gain access to it.

Make it easy to use

If you have computer labs, make sure there are posters telling people how to log in, and how to use basic applications in a rudimentary way. Check out Freedman’s 5 Minute Rule at  7 rules for ICT teachers, co-ordinators and leaders for more details about this suggestion. Mobile equipment should have instructions with the kit  -- taped on if necessary. Battery-powered equipment should be fully-charged, ready to use. SD cards and other media should be empty, so there is lots of room on which to store new stuff.

Also, make sure there aren’t ridiculous hurdles to overcome before you can even get your hands on the kit.

Provide reasons to use it

It’s hard to suggest to other subject experts why they might wish to explore something different to what they’ve been using or doing, but it’s worth a try. For instance, ask the science teachers if you can show them the Bunsen burner and other symbols available on the interactive whiteboard. It’s simple, and obvious if you already know about it – but how do you know if they do?

Keep it clean

Dirty keyboards are disgusting, and a health hazard. Screens smeared with fingerprints are horrible to look at, hard to see, and probably a health hazard as well. Everything should be as in pristine a condition as possible. That should also have the happy side effect of encouraging people to look after it better.

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