I believe many teachers are hesitant to use technology because they are uncomfortable using it. Many generations of teachers began teaching using nothing but a chalk board. They are most comfortable using this technique rather than trying something new. I believe some teachers would be willing to try new pieces of technology if they were taught how to use it, and given time to practice using the tool. When I think of technology I think of tools like the ipads, elmos, and whiteboards. These are all great tools that can be used in the classroom. I think the biggest hurdle is providing teachers with in-services and trainings in how to use these tools. I have found that some schools expect you to take the time to learn how to use them on your own. We all know that there are many other things to worry about once the school year begins. I feel because of this learning how to use the technology is pushed to the side.
I could not agree more with all the points that you mentioned. I also work with many "chalkboard generation" teachers. These teachers seem so hesitant to embrace the new technology that we have in our school. It is a shame because some teachers would love to have a SMARTboard, and there are many that go unused by these types of teachers. I agree that districts often expect teachers to educate themselves on these tools. There just aren't enough hours in the day to figure out all the curriculum, the Common Core Standards, plan with your grade level team review the data, and figure out the technology. The reality is that our students learn best when engaged. Our students go home to computers, cell phones, iPods, iPads, video games, etc. They are surrounded by technology in all other aspects of their lives, why not continue this at school.
Technology integration is a challenge in many different ways. First, teachers are often resistant to change in their classrooms. Second, often times teachers lack the support necessary to effectively implement a given technology. Third, time constraints further complicate and impede regular usage in the classrooms. Finally, teachers need comprehensive training providing them with successful practices and strategies using technology in there specific settings.
There are several approaches that will address the "hurdles" teachers face with technology integration. Teachers should be given ample training, and time to prepare technology rich lessons. For example, training teachers on the use of smart boards is great, but providing teachers with time to design a few lessons current to there teaching objectives would be better. This scenario allows for the teacher to take the freshly anointed training and immediately infuse it into something that they are teaching.
Additionally, teachers should be provided support to aid in integration. Most teachers would love to implement their ideas, but when the return from trainings, if the device/technology has a problem or doesnt work, there sometimes are no immediate Technology support resources available. Provide teachers with in class set up and support once they return from there trainings. Additionally, sit through the initial technology implementation lesson to assure not technical issues arise.
Excellent points, Kurtis. The proper support needed is one that is often overlooked by school districts. Proper training, equipment support, and followup training are all essential.
By joining this discussion I am just going to be adding onto what many people are saying. Time is the biggest hurdle for integrating technology into everday practices. In my opinion, you have to truly spend time to find technology that will be meaningful, engaging, timely and also related to teaching standards. As a teacher, finding that time is difficult. I believe there is a never ending amount of technology that will benefit all students, however, finding it takes time. I think edcuators work within their comfort level and some struggle with technology and therefore don't use it as much.
The biggest hurdle for myself and all of the teachers in my county is the fact that we are still in the 'stone age.' What I mean by this is, we are blocked by half of the web due to restrictions, the network crashes, and we do not have enough laptops for a class. There are SMARTboards, but only in fourth and fifth grade classrooms. We even have trouble getting bulbs for our LED projectors. I love hearing about all the great things teachers do in their classrooms with technology, plus I am taking technology courses for my graduate studies, but it stinks to come back and not be able to expand and implement those ideas to my classroom at the moment.
One hurdle that I have discussed with friends that teach outside of my district is MONEY! I am blessed to have many pieces of technology and appropriate training opportunities to match the equipment. If a district cannot supply the technology, I feel that the students that are taught in their buildings are at a disadvantage. The world is changing around us and we need to keep up. Engagement is higher now that I have technology to support what I do in the mathematics classroom. Kids are excited to be part of the lesson and discussion, are more willing to share their work, and the overall attitudes of the learners appear to be positive. Without the pieces of technology that I am able to use, my class seems....BLAH!
Lets face it, technology is the future of teaching, and our kids are already embracing it, so why not the teachers. Students love to use technology, computers, ipads, pbworks, fast math, study island, etc... I don't understand why teachers are so defiant or hesitant in teaching something that their students would love to interact with. Most teachers are experienced and have been teaching for many years, and like what they have been doing for 10 years, 20 years, and beyond. But we need to embrace the era that we are in. Unfortunately, kids these days are comfortable with technology, meaning, they log way to many hours in front of screens instead of playing outside and interacting with other piers of their age. Instead of resisting the inevitable, we teachers need to buckle down and take the time to learn and master the world of technology. The time waisted on complaining about how "we don't have enough time to learn this stuff", or "the technology doesn't work", is time waisted on learning new technology applications in the classroom and out.
well, if all things were equal and time and money were available... the question would be should is it worth it to force your colleagues and districts to learn and (pardon the pun) upgrade their skills sets. Is is this technological gap big enough to bother constant retraining of employees, or should it be up to the individual teachers? Doctors have to constantly go to conferences and training sessions in order to keep up with emerging technologies, is our field as dependent on technology to need that or do decide on a case by case basis?