Guiding a school building or district into the digital era takes lot of time, effort and planning, especially if faculty and staff are hesitant to change. Administrators may find themselves unsure how to approach digital doubters when integrating eBooks into the classroom. Adopting a growth mindset will ensure the best chances of a well-received digital content strategy. OverDrive, the leading digital reading platform for K-12 schools, has developed five tips based on experience working with thousands of schools, that will help maintain momentum and keep communication channels open between administration and faculty.
1. Meet teachers where they are
Teachers come to the table with the varying levels of digital proficiency. Invest in technology that complements what teachers have already mastered. If teachers are reporting that their students would benefit from certain technology, pay attention. The same way individualized learning benefits students, different groups of teachers will need different levels of training. Much like their students, teachers need time to learn how to master digital content. Be patient and curious about the obstacles as new technology rolls out.
2. Start Now
Adding a digital reading platform may seem like it demands an all-in approach, but that sometimes isn’t necessary or feasible. Consider a pilot program with just a few teachers or classrooms. The small and nimble approach may also help leverage budget dollars and get you started now, especially if there is little allocated for digital content. Schools using OverDrive’s digital reading platform pay only for the cost of content, which goes directly toward quality eBooks and audiobooks for students.
3. Get involved
Facilitate connection and collaboration with faculty by becoming proactively involved in the testing and adoption of new technology. If teachers are expected to use the newest tablet in the classroom, learn how to use it first. If the district uses a digital reading platform like OverDrive, read a few titles and get familiar with the user experience. The best way for administrators to become convincing advocates for new technology is by mastering it.
4. Provide quality professional development
Professional development should be engaging, useful and a continuous endeavor. Showing teachers how to use a new digital reading platform or app is only helpful if they can practice on devices.
Consider intensive training for a member of each department and then allow that teacher time to work with their department members to teach them about the new technology. OverDrive offers live webcasts, and 24/7 access to online training modules and downloadable PDFs on digital content and best practices.
5. Seek feedback
Allow teacher and student feedback to direct you. Make sure to listen to every voice, both outspoken and quiet. There are many ways for staff and students to submit feedback anonymously so that they feel comfortable being honest. Big changes can be complex and slow to implement, so engagement and flexibility is essential. Observe the process carefully and use that information to inform future decisions.
Change may seem difficult, but keeping the needs of the district, staff, and students in mind will lead to growth in the right direction: forward. For more information about the OverDrive service for K-12 schools, visit overdrive.com/schools.
OverDrive is the leading digital distribution platform, supplying the industry’s largest catalog of eBooks, audiobooks, streaming video and periodicals to 34,000 libraries and schools worldwide. OverDrive Education is a division of OverDrive, Inc. We support all major computers and devices, including iOS®, Android™, Chromebook™ and Kindle® (U.S. only). OverDrive delivers all digital media on a single platform, and offers innovations such as OverDrive Read, the breakthrough EPUB and HTML5 browser-based reading experience, and Read-Along eBooks. Founded in 1986, OverDrive is based in Cleveland, Ohio USA and is owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten. For more information, visit company.overdrive.com.