I work with some of the most talented teachers I have ever worked with and we are considered to be pretty great at Project Based Instruction. And, I'm not just saying these teachers are talented so they will like me if they read this discussion. They know and practice PBL, spend an incredible amount of time at the school helping students, and have to wear multiple hats (since we are a small faculty).
But when it comes time to trying out or even just reading about the latest information about technology use in the classroom they throw up their hands and say they don't have time - in most cases a (somewhat) valid point. They then tell me that they don't even open emails from me with links in them and I've been accused of being a spammer on Facebook because I like to put links there for people to see.
Today I've decided to put a moratorium on anything with a link for the next 2 or 3 months. But, I feel bad that they aren't out there seeking this knowledge. So, back to the title: how do you get teachers to embrace the latest technology at your school or school district?
The most difficult thing for someone is the one he/her doesn't know it.
These teachers know very well how they can do a lot of things without technology and they feel that they don't need it. Also they know very well that they have to try hard to achieve the desired skills on a new tool and this is a time consuming matter for themselves.
Maybe the solution is to educate them on these tools. One tool per month is a good starting point. If they discover that one tool could make their life easier they will adobt it.
First thing I suggest is start slow. Introduce and FACILITATE one concept. Be willing to be a cheerleader and do legwork and follow up. Just by sending out emails people won't generally adopt. They are busy and one more thing feels like a brick even if you are giving them something that will save them time.
Personally I hate links, so if it is information you are sharing, copy and paste the info directly into the email instead of just sending a link. And more importantly EDIT the copy and paste. Getting a long email with a lot of words is daunting and the person will just delete it. Pick out the couple of sentences that the person really needs and then after that give the link to more if they feel like they were enriched by the teaser.
Identify your goal, what is it you want them to adopt and WHY. Be concise. What direct reason should they care about this technology and how will it make them a better teacher? Why is it good for kids.
Then MAKE SOMETHING they can use without any effort. I know it is like spoon feeding, but the unknown is scary and if your ultimate goal is for them to embrace, begging is not likely to work.
Get people going on that one technology or tool or step and then introduce the next one.
Once you show that you are a helpful guy and are willing to work hard to help them you will win them over more easily down the road.
Our superintendent is a very strong supporter for integrating technology into our lessons; his goal for our school district is to be a 1:1 school by second semester (at least 7-12), so he hired a Technology Coordinator. Throughout the year she will present different ways to integrate technology but more importantly will be available to each of us for personal training or to answer questions, etc. I'm excited to begin the new school year. Even though I'm 54 and can retire in two years, I'm not too old to learn some ways to make learning meaningful and exciting for my students.
I think teachers who are reluctant to try technology need to be introduced to a couple of tools, websites, etc., at a time and then make sure there is someone who they can turn to if they are feeling overwhelmed. If they can find success with using one or two, then their confidence will grow. They might even find using technology makes their classrooms more interesting and they will have to spend less time encouraging students to pay attention.
Yes I agree, over emailing Web 2.0 links to staff can put off engagement and interest. I've gone for a 'Weeknote' approach whereby a number of links are forwarded together less regularly http://psbenson.wordpress.com/ (linked to http://edtechfrogvle.wikispaces.com/).
For this next academic year from Sep-11 I intend to keep up this 'Weeknote' idea on a more regular basis. I like the idea of holding people's hands and introducing a web 2.0 tool each week (such as Dropbox, Evenote, Lino/Wallwisher, Wordle... ). I think it is a really good idea to have regular 'tech days' with the involvement of students as helpers too (http://www.agent4change.net/innovation/innovation/736-tosh-supports...)
I face this same issue everyday in my role as ICT coach and I do get frustrated especially with the notion that what I'm suggesting is more work - it's not, it's a different way of working. But at the same time I understand that it takes time to learn this stuff, it gets easier but that initial learning curve can be a HUGE barrier. I don't know what the answer is...
However, I have had some successes. What I've learned is that any new tool must be something new where the value is readily apparent or must be a better (quicker/prettier/more efficient) way of doing something they already do. One thing I like to do is create a product using the new tool I want to promote and put it out there without commenting on the tool. A couple of examples - sign-ups for a professional learning day workshops on Google forms led to huge interest and subsequent use of Google forms/docs; a newsletter created using Glogster led to several people wanting to know how I made it.