Sunday, August 31, 2014

Perceived Usefulness

As our tech coaches embark upon goal setting with their teachers,  one of the most important things I think they are going to be dealing with is the perceived usefulness of technology.  We've all heard the teacher who has been teaching the same way for many years and yet resists change because s/he claims to have excellent exam results.  Whether a teacher will want to change her/his use of technology will depend on a variety of things:
  • Feelings, attitudes and beliefs of what can be done
  • Motivation of why this should be done
  • Strategies of how to do it
In our cognitive coaching course this summer we learned about efficacy.  Bill and Ochan Powell defined this as the ability to embrace problems as opportunities because you know you have the capacity to solve problems and take action to bring about change.  Renata Phelps and Anne Graham refer to this as self-efficacy, which is not so much about the technological skills that you have but about your personal judgement of these skills.

Motivation is also important.  In some schools the motivation will be external because of the requirements of the curriculum or the school.  Intrinsic motivation is of course more powerful, as teachers want to change because they know it is important for students to use technology or because they see that technology engages and motivates students.  One of the things I've noticed as I've been setting goals with teachers is that they are keen to talk about uses of technology and apps that are useful tools for them in their own professional lives, for example assessment apps (personal perceived usefulness) and the usefulness of technology in the classroom (pedagogical perceived usefulness).  Phelps and Graham also write about the importance of motivation in goal setting:  "In order to assist teachers to take control of their own learning they need to be supported to realize that the first step is to personally take on some goals."

I think it's important for teachers to develop their skills as problems solvers, as when you are using technology problems will invariably arise.  According to Phelps and Graham, being able to solve such problems takes time, experience, patience and perseverance - and this in turn requires the right attitude and the ability to apply the most appropriate strategies.  Confidence will come, but only when teachers are prepared to have a go and then experience success.  

I think perceived usefulness is one topic that will come up again and again as we set goals with our teachers so it is important to support them to problem solve and to realize through their successes that they can bring about change.

Photo Credit: danbri via Compfight cc

No comments:

Post a Comment