PROMOTING TECHNOLOGY: 13 WAYS TO DO IT

by Karen Robertson


Here are some great ideas to turn educators, students and community members into technology users and supporters. These are methods I've successfully used to promote technology.

HOLD EXECUTIVE BRIEFINGS

Show board members, community leaders, teachers, facility planners, finance directors, and the superintendent the latest technology. Ask hardware vendors to send representatives to demonstrate their latest products.

COORDINATE TOURS TO OTHER HIGH-TECH SCHOOLS

Visit schools within a 50-mile radius to learn about equipment being used there.

HOLD "COMPUTER DAY" FOR PARENTS

Invite parents for a hands-on computer day. Provide child care and offer computer instruction. Teach them to use the software their children use daily. Plan enough instruction on word processing to allow them to create and print out a brief letter to their child.

HAVE STUDENTS EVALUATE SOFTWARE

Choose a class to evaluate each new piece of software. Better yet, develop a "techie tribe" that always, when new software arrives, fills out the registration card, boots it up, and explores its capabilities. Let the students demonstrate it to their teacher and the technology coordinator.

HOLD CONTESTS REGULARLY

Carmen Sandiego Day-Broderbund has a catalog of Carmen Sandiego shirts, folders, contest suggestions, stickers, and prizes.
Creative Word Processing Contest-Promote keyboarding, word processing, and writing skills by integrating them into a contest.
Computer Art Contest-Students enter computer generated art work.

SEEK PUBLICITY

Write articles for local newspapers, magazines and chamber of commerce newsletters. Call the local newspaper every time you plan a computer contest or project.

DEVELOP A MEDIA CENTER WITH A TRAINED TECHNICIAN

Train the technician to use software, which can be checked out of the media center by teachers and administrators.
Have software catalogs and computer magazines available. Invest in site licenses. The technician can facilitate copying and dissemination. He/she becomes another arm for the technology coordinator.

SEND OUT A NEWSLETTER

A regular, professional looking publication to the community is a great way to spread the word about your projects.

SEEK OUTSIDE FUNDS

Write grant proposals and ask local businesses to support the computer you want, what needs it satisfies and how much it costs. Enter any contest that offers equipment or software as prizes. Hold fund-raisers.

MAXIMIZE TECHNOLOGY USE

Create mobile laptop or multimedia stations, a video production studio, cable TV station, telecomputing station or satellite learning center. Allow students to checkout laptops, VCR's, video cameras, and classroom computers.

REWARD THOSE WHO COME FOR TRAINING

Give tickets at the end of the session, have a drawing. I have given away software, coupons for dinner at local restaurants, two raw T-bone steaks, candy, key chains, and paid vacations. (A paid vacation consists of one hour of freedom for the teacher while I teach his/her class.)

ENLIST HELP

Select and train a computer contact teacher at each school or site to train other teachers, distribute software ,and promote technology on the site level.

TRAIN STUDENTS TO BE TROUBLESHOOTERS

Teach them to set up and break down a computer, and impart some basic troubleshooting skills. Give them identification badges; they'll become your maintenance staff. At the end of the year, recognize them with certificates of appreciation.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

KAREN ROBERTSON is a technology coordinator for Murrieta Valley Unified School District, Murietta, CA.

Adapted from SCHOLASTIC'S ELECTRONIC LEARNING, November/December 1990.