What Push Back Can We Expect?
When there is any change in the classroom, you are going to get push back from the teachers regardless of which brand of Interactive Flat Panel you choose. Grumbles and moans, all part of the experience I'm afraid. In this section, we will highlight a couple of the common themes we hear from customers.
The first is really due to size. There tends to be an argument from the teachers that they are losing their large Interactive Whiteboard and it is being replaced by a much smaller Interactive Flat Panel. As we highlighted earlier in the book, the common replacement for a 78” Interactive Whiteboard is a 55” or 65” Interactive Flat Panel. What you have to explain to teachers is that the resolution is much higher so you are getting more pixel space on the page, which I like to call real estate. When you look at how much you can actually write on the Interactive Flat Panel it is indeed more than on the Interactive Whiteboard.
The second push back I’m sure you will have experienced when you were installing the Interactive White Boards. “I want to be able to write with dry-erase markers on the surface.” This is something we are hearing less and less but there are still instances when we hear this is a complaint. Being able to offer the teachers a regular whiteboard that sits next to the Interactive Flat Panel is still common practice in a lot of schools and will certainly quiet this type of push back from the teachers.
“What do I do with my existing lessons?” is always a question we hear and we’ve addressed this earlier in the book in its own section. The bottom line with this one is that if you are moving away from one software over to another, make sure you are able to import your existing lessons or all hell will break loose with the staff and faculty. Recreating content is not something you want to tell them they have to do!
Ease of Use
“I don't know how to use this?” Believe it or not, we think that our technology is easy to use. Even though the functionality is very similar to that of an interactive whiteboard, this is a statement that we hear time and time again. This can only be resolved by training which leads us nicely into the next chapter.
Training and Professional Development
In short, training is a must. When you are considering your Interactive Flat Panel purchase and roll out, be sure to have the manufacturer and the integrator include some training for you and your staff. Some manufacturers will charge for training and others will include it in the package.
At TouchIT we normally build in a number of days of training for the larger roll outs as part of a package offering to a School or District. We find that happy customers tell other Schools and Districts about our technology, so it is actually in our best interest to make sure that all the teachers are trained. Some of our larger installations have had multiple days of training - probably totaling over 10 days if we add them all up. We see this as part of selling the technology.
You also need to consider the best way to go about the training and implementing it. There is the “train the trainer” approach which does work well. How this works is that the manufacturer will spend a good deal of time with a small number of staff that become experts in the software. Those experts then pass on their knowledge through Professional Development sessions with the rest of the staff.
We’ve found that smaller groups and more frequent sessions work much better than longer sessions with 50+ people in the room. What tends to happen in large groups is that the session becomes dominated by a select few and nobody really benefits to the extent that they should. We recommend group sessions or drop-in sessions throughout a day, for example of 3-4 people being trained at a time. That way, everyone gets something out of it and something that is relevant to them, rather than hearing about someone else's issues that they may not have themselves.
This Blog post is an extract from the eBook "Bring Back My Whiteboard!" - Written by TouchIT Technologies CEO Andi Brabin. Enter your email address below to receive your free copy.