How can you implement something new in a non-threatening way?
Professional cultures, personal sensitivities and traditional ways of working can make implementing a different way of working, or a new technology challenging in any organisation.
A lot of the teachers we speak to say that one of the things that's helped them get to grips with IRIS Connect at first, is an IRIS Connect Champion - someone in their school who advocates and encourages usage of the system and that others can go to if they have any questions about how it works.
But who should the champion be?
The uptake and usage of IRIS Connect at Parkwood Academy has been incredible since they installed. NQT Gregg Henderson and GTP Lee Vestey were enlisted to be IRIS Connect Champions which has proved to be very successful. Here's why:
- With less teaching experience under their belts NQTs and GTPs are often looking to get their skills up to speed and feel on par with the rest of the staff in the school. This makes them excellent candidates for trying something new.
- Teachers will feel less threatened and will understand more quickly that IRIS Connect is not a tool used to spy on them, but a tool to help them develop their practice at their own pace.
- For the staff who are perhaps a little less tech savvy it can often feel easier to approach more junior members of team to help them set up or use the system.
We spoke to Gregg and Lee to find out more...
"In the 2012/13 school year I was an NQT and Lee was a GTP. With the support of our head of teaching and learning (plus the fact we took a keen interest in the software very quickly and utilised it numerous times) it was decided myself and Lee would take the lead on the usage of IRIS Connect in our school,' explains Gregg. 'We felt that teachers such as ourselves with less experience and no 'management role' emphasising the benefits of IRIS Connect would help the buy-in of teachers rather than it being pushed from the senior leadership team. So we decided to create an action plan of ways in which we could incorporate as many teachers as possible into using IRIS Connect through various projects. Our main goal is to get IRIS Connect embedded as an integral part of CPD and Teaching and Learning within the academy."
Gregg continues, "We have decided that it will be mandatory for NQT's and ITT's to use IRIS Connect as part of their induction package. We created champions within each department who will be there should teachers need support in setting it up. Each department will also have IRIS Connect as an agenda point in their meetings where the IRIS champions can take note of the benefits teachers have gained taken from using it so others can benefit from this in the future. We are also going to use IRIS Connect as a coaching tool for our AST's and good/outstanding teachers to help coach and support those still striving to reach that goal. In the long term we will be looking to create a bank of video resources that teachers can relate to and use to watch good practice."
Gregg and Lees four tips on getting started with IRIS Connect:
1. Play with the system - set it up in a classroom and experiment with how it works and where is best to place it in the classroom so you get maximum coverage. Maybe even record a few lessons and give yourself and the students time to get used to having it in the room.
2. Hold a departmental session where for the first 15 minutes everyone has a go at turning it on and setting it up, this will hopefully boost the confidence of those less tech savvy members of staff.
3. Run a whole school session on IRIS Connect and share some funny or unforgettable moments that have helped you grow as a teacher already. This will hopefully encourage other more experienced teachers to share their clips or lessons further down the line.
4. Find a friend or colleague who you trust to team up with, it will make those first times sharing and being observed far less frightening.
Watch the full interview with Gregg and Lee below: