Success with MS Teams

How can I, lonesome ICT teacher, in a school where paper and tradition are king, inspire teachers to use and love the MAGIC of Microsoft Teams – or even any software?

This has been my struggle for the past few years and, referring to my previous post, I launched the “Infiltration from within” strategy. Good news! Today I am not writing about my struggles anymore, but about the SUCCESSES!

Infiltration from within

How do you convince a teacher to try something new? Not by conducting workshops or trainings, not by having motivational seminars or speeches and definitely not by having SMT-members force it upon them. You only win a teacher for your cause by some internal motivational techniques: having learners convince the teacher it is cool.

I have done endless (and pointless) workshops, trainings, speeches and forced policies in the past few years to try and encourage teachers to use Teams in their classrooms, but the only success I got was in the past few months after I showed my own learners how Teams can be used in other subjects as well and suggested they show their teachers. My grade 11 & 12-learners, who have used Teams since grade 10 (and LOVE it!), were given explicit instructions to infiltrate their other subjects and convince their teachers (without being too obvious) to create a Team for their class.

But how?

For example, when their teachers would copy and distribute past exam papers (on actual paper – yes, some people still do this), my learners would ask for it to rather be sent electronically to them. If the teachers ask “how”, they respond with: “Put it on Teams Ma’am. DM or just send it to the whole class!” When the learners have assignments to be handed in, they would ask to rather do it in Word and hand it in online – to save paper of course. Then they will suggest handing it in on a Teams Assignments.

The teachers won’t have any idea what the learners are referring to, but not wanting to sound stupid, most of them will say something like “Ok, let me just consider it. I’ll get back to you.” After that I will be cornered in the staff room: “Charlotte, uhm, I want to send some files to my learners. Uhm, you know, err, Teams? I thought maybe I can send it, err, on there. I can’t, uh, remember everything you said in the training, but, uhm, can you quickly help me?”

YESSSSSSSSS, I think! “Definitely!”

I quickly show them how to access Teams via office.com, download the desktop app, log in and create a Team for their class. I also created a short video of how to create the team and add learners, so after demonstrating it, I send them the video as well. Viola!

SUCCESS

The infiltration has won Consumer Studies, all the Sciences, English Home Language, Geography, Social Studies, Life Orientation and even, wait for it, MATHS. We are also using Teams to distribute general announcements and forms to certain grades! The grade 8 & 9 learners have even written one cycle test and one exam on their own devices in their register classes via a Quiz Assignment on Teams (using a self-marking Forms Quiz). Instant feedback, no marking! And the learners felt cool, the teachers felt hip and the SMT just loved bragging about stuff like that in the Newsletter…

If you are me a few years ago, struggling and struggling to convince and inspire – don’t stop! You might not see the game won or achieve a high score, but you will level up some time… I have learnt that even if ONE teacher believes in the magic of Teams, Microsoft Tools or ICT-usage in general, it is enough to infiltrate a whole school. Keep on leading by example.

SHOW them how their lives can be made easier instead of just telling them.


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