Why aren’t my teachers updating their web pages?

September 4, 2007 § Leave a comment

It’s the beginning of the school year, and if you’re like my school district, you have a ton of teachers scrambling to update their web pages to reflect the new school year, new students, new rules, and maybe a new grade level.

This yearly right of passage also includes the nightmare situation for technology trainers of having to retrain folks the have already been trained on how to use your webpage system but have forgotten in the last year because they haven’t updated their page since this time last year.

So how do you get that training to stick? I mean, you spent hours with these teachers pouring over the details and showing them where the documentation is located. Why can’t they remember, or remember where the documents are?

All of this feeds into the fact that teachers aren’t geeks and geeks aren’t usually teachers. There are people who live in both worlds, and those are the people who update their web pages every week or every month, but for the most part, teachers are busy with teaching and their families when they’re not teaching, so they don’t have the time to memorize every detail of how your web page system works, or figure out what went wrong when it stops working. They just want the damn thing to work, period.

It is the mentality of the geeks, who love having lots of control over the way things look that lead to this frustration for teachers. Geeks are the ones in charge of getting the software that the teachers will use, but because geeks aren’t teachers, they get software that geeks will love because of all of the features, bells and whistles. This goes for a lot of the programs and training that teachers see.

Teachers have full plates already, and for the most part aren’t the most tech savvy folks. They want things that are simple to use, and simple to remember. Too many bells and whistles means too many features to train on, which means too many things for teachers to remember/forget, and the less likely they are to use it because they can’t remember how they got it to work in the first place.

Keeping things simple, and preferably easy to use (ie directions within the program itself – not separate documents) will result in many more of your teachers using the technology that your district provides for them.

One more thing to remember: the fewer usernames and passwords they have to remember, the better. Any program worth its weight nowadays will have the ability to pull user info from your LDAP. If the username or password isn’t something they use every day, they’ll forget it, and when they do want to use it, and can’t remember their login info, they’ll get frustrated and stop trying.

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