What role can vendors play in helping me to learn how to use technology?

Monday, November 22nd, 2010 | technology

Technology vendors are not charity organizations – they have a profit motive.  The fact that they take money from your school – or from you – does not make them your enemies.  In fact, they can become your best friends!

How can you use the client-supplier relationship between you and vendors to your advantage?  Think about it this way:

When a vendor sells you a piece of technology – it can be a device like a computer or a data projector or an interactive whiteboard or it can be a software program – and it is not working, it reflects unfavourably on the vendor.

Many people – teachers, principals, school governing body members and even education department officials – are not yet convinced of the value of technology as teaching and learning tools.  They question whether an investment in it will yield a positive return.

Vendors know that future sales depend on successful operation of their technology.  When the equipment or program is not working because you – the teacher – don’t know how to use it, onlookers seldom understand the real reason for this.  They only see expensive technology that is not working.  Vendors need their products to be successful in your classroom and it is therefore in their own interest to give you all the training and support you need.

It is also in your own interest to make use of whatever training vendors offer you!

Not all vendors provide proper training and so it is important that you select reputable dealers – those who are not mere box-droppers and interested in a quick sale.  Good vendors understand that, after selling technology to you, they can’t simply walk away and hope for the best.  The service they render must include initial training, as well as ongoing support.

This situation is clearly beneficial to you.  If you form a close partnership with your vendor you stand to benefit from: 

  • initial orientation and training
  • advice on how to integrate the product into classroom practice
  • user communities – both face-to-face seminars and online networks.

 A mutually beneficial relationship can exist between you and your technology suppliers when you prove that their products work and they give you valuable training.

For more technology tips for teachers click here.

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6 Comments to What role can vendors play in helping me to learn how to use technology?

Mark C
Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

How about vendors employing Khanya staff as consultants to assist them in proper implementation and training?

Shirley Kaminer (ADESSA CEO)
Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

The acquisition of hardware and software is the easy part – how to use these effectively to add value to teaching and learning is far more complicated. Reputable technology vendors that adhere to a strict code of conduct, as required by members of ADESSA, are on hand to offer training and support on an on-going basis and will work in partnership with Education Departments and schools to grow the use of ICT in education. These vendors are highly professional and are therefore able to assist in the implementation of e-learning on a sustained basis and to help in building the skills of educators in the use of ICT.

John Bredenkamp
Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

After a number of years being involved with 98 FET College Campuses using the PLATO Learning System, one thing is abundantly clear: “What gets measured, gets done.” Ideally, the local leadership (principal/campus manager/HOD) should be “checking” and supporting the implementation of the ICT’s, but often the vendor is forced to do that in order to protect the name and integrity of the product. In the ICT world,teachers need to become the “guide on the side” and allow the learners to access the technology, as opposed to continue trying to be the “sage on the stage” in a field with which they are uncomfortable.

Kobus van Wyk
Tuesday, 23 November, 2010

Shirley, it is good to hear from the CEO of ADESSA. I believe that ADESSA can play a leading role in Southern Africa to champion the cause of technology in education. I trust that your members, each in their own right, will continue making a contribution towards teacher training … some of them are already doing such a superb job! The education authorities on their own can not make ICT in schools happen – we NEED the vendors!

Wednesday, 24 November, 2010

I could not agree more. The only way that we are going to integrate ICT into the classrooms is by ongoing, quality training to the schools. Knowing exactly how the product can enhance curriculum delivery is key to improving numeracy and literacy at the Khanya schools!

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