Making trainees seamlessly using digital concepts and tools in their classrooms

As a teacher trainer one frequently discussed question among colleagues these days is ‘how to make them do it’? How can we, as teacher trainers in the initial training phase, make sure that the upcoming teachers of the future understand and implement digital concepts and ideas behind their teaching? Make them take ideas like SAMR, 4Cs, TPACK; Blooms new digital taxonomy, etc. for granted?

I think the answer is quite simple on the first hand. Lead by the example. This of course means to regularly show them lesson plans and materials or have them attend lessons that are making good use of digital tools and more important the concepts behind. Encourage them to try a lot of things in their classes. Make discussions about and reflecting these lessons a priority.

But taking a second look, I think there is more to be done. And this might be a bit more difficult.

Redesign your training.

Implement all the things you would like them to do with their students in your training. Seamlessly.

Here are some ideas (by no means exhaustive):

– Offer flipped classroom tutorials as a preparation for your sessions. You can start with some videos about the SAMR-model (How to apply the SAMR Model with Ruben Puentedura) or the flipped classroom (TED-talk Salman Khan) itself.

– Let your trainees prepare material for flipped classroom sessions. Why not let them produce videos on topics such as ‘how to design a good reading test’? Feedback and reflect on strengths and discuss ideas for improvement. Of course it could also be helpful to create videos they could use with their students (;-)).

– Use a flexible learning environment to manage all the materials needed for learning. You can also use it for sustainable feedback. iTunesU is wonderful, any Moodle-based environment will certainly do.

– Set tasks that also deal with digital learning objectives: Make your students use (internal) chat forums to discuss sample material and to make suggestions to improve it. Encourage them to then try these materials in class. Let them record themselves while teaching and start an open discussion for reflection.

– Give the junior teachers tasks that they can work on collaboratively. Focus on scenarios (and somehow also on a few tools) that are beneficial here. Keynote, Pages, Explain Everything, Baiboard, GoogleDocs and many many more offer the chance of working together.

– Little things often also help to inspire: Use Apps like VocalRecall for feedback on material handed in. Discuss prerecorded lessons using technology like H5P to make it more interactive. Encourage the trainees to use Apps like Book Creator to hand in their portfolios. Enrich paper material or books with AR-elements. Apps like Aurasma proved useful here.

This might mean a steep learning curve for some of the young teachers but I really think it is worthwhile and from my experience rewarding.