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How to Motivate your Teachers for EdTech

Siddhartha Kapoor

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on everyone including schools. School leaders know that physical schools may be closed but the school must go on, learning must go on. 

Schools have moved to online learning. Teachers are working from home, taking classes with students over video, preparing lesson plans, collaborating with teachers & coordinators over video calls, and performing so many other tasks. Teachers are working harder and longer and many are having to use technology for the first time. It is a big change, and school leaders need to step up to manage the motivation of their teachers, to prevent loss in productivity, prevent a burn-out and/or loss in motivation.

Here are a few ideas to make sure your teachers remain motivated and the school continues running smoothly online.

1. Share the larger vision – the ‘why’

Not enough can be said about sharing the larger vision with teachers and what is the role of each teacher in achieving that vision. It’s important to clearly articulate ‘why’ the school exists, or what it stands for and how it is going about its mission and goals. People are attracted and inspired not by the ‘what’ or ‘how’ but by the ‘why’.

But this is not easy. School leaders need to take a hard look at the ‘why’ or reason for the existence of their school and work even harder in articulating the same and communicating that with the teachers. The school’s daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals must be derived from this vision. Every action the school leaders take, every decision they make must be aligned with the vision and take us a step further towards the achievement of these goals.

2. Communicate the benefits of technology

Technology obviously has numerous benefits if properly used. It solves problems, automates tasks, makes tasks quicker, helps us organize things and documents. But like any tool one must know the tool before it can  be used.

The adoption of EdTech is so much faster if teachers know the benefits and capabilities of the tools available to them. Invest time and energy in communicating the benefits and capabilities of the EdTech tool the  school has adopted.

3. Create an environment of intrinsic motivation 

Intrinsic motivation is always more powerful than extrinsic motivation. If the right environment of intrinsic motivation is created,  the staff gives their maximum on their own. Three conditions are needed to create an environment of intrinsic motivation: 

  1. PURPOSE: The teachers must be clear about the vision of the school and understand how  their actions contribute to achievement  of the school’s goals. They should be very clear about  what is expected of them.
  2. AUTONOMY: The teachers must be empowered to be able to take actions to achieve these goals. The teachers need to know that the power to perform the required tasks is with the teachers. 
  3. MASTERY: The teachers must be trained and coached to use EdTech correctly and be able to perform the needed tasks. 

4. One likes to do the tasks he/she is good at,  so train your teachers well

Studies support this, but it is just plain common-sense. If you are good at something,  you are happy to do it. The more you do it, the better you become.  And if the task involved has an element of creativity and gives a sense of achievement, one is happy to do it and does it even better. So it makes sense to invest  time and energy in training your teachers well for the EdTech solution the school plans to implement in the school.

5. Appoint EdTech champions

Every  school has a few teachers who  are good at adopting new technology. Such teachers don’t need much motivation to adopt a new technology. Recognize them as champions and bearers of the EdTech change in the school, and these champions become the go-to  support for the rest of the staff. These champions are happy to help others and find more creative ways to use the EdTech in the school. 

6. Celebrate success & gamify

It is important to celebrate each and every success. The school leaders have a large role to play here. Congratulate and appreciate each teacher on her EdTech adoption journey, but also celebrate each success as the success of the whole school community, not just of an individual. Every small celebration of success gives that sense of achievement to the entire school community to adopt the change and continue to strive for school goals.

Schools can also choose to gamify the use of EdTech in the school. Simply explained, gamification means to convert goals and work tasks into game-like-tasks and celebrate goals and achievements. A lot has been written and is available freely online about workplace gamification.

But a word of caution: The best gamification works when a person competes with himself/herself, trying to beat the score he/she made last week or last month. The moment teachers start competing with each other, or school leaders start comparing the achievements of one teacher with another, the sense of community breaks-down and leads to demotivation.

7. Care about their problems, these are Covid times

We are in this pandemic together. The school leaders and the teachers need each other more than ever. It is important for the school leaders to take a step back from the day to day tasks and find out how each teacher is doing. Is she happy? What are her fears? How is life at home? How is her family coping with the pandemic? What can the school do to help them? Not all help has to be financial. Everyone understands what we are going through, but just a little bit of one-to-one care can do wonders. 

Article by Siddhartha Kapoor, CEO & Founder, Lernio

This article was first published on EdtechReview.in

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