Challenges in Using Technology in the Schools

The New Media Consortium Horizon Report: 2012 K-12 Edition, defined major challenges facing educators with integrating technology in the classroom ranging from professional development to lack of accessibility for all students.  According to the report, the following are the top six challenges facing educators:

1.  Digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline

and profession, especially teaching.

2.  K-12 must address the increased blending of formal and informal learning.

3.  The demand for personalized learning is not adequately supported by current technology or practices.

4.  Institutional barriers present formidable challenges to moving forward in a constructive way with emerging technologies.

5.  Learning that incorporates real life experiences is not occurring enough and is undervalued when it does take place.

6.  Many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom and thus are not part of traditional learning metrics.

 As I read through these six challenges, I became fixated on digital media literacy.  Educators have a common goal and that is to educate the children.  Unfortunately they often fail to educate themselves.  This is evident when addressing technology in the classroom.  Many educators are reluctant to integrate technology in the classroom for various reasons. Technology is often viewed “in terms of a ‘side-car activity’ as adjunct to, rather than part of, the core curriculum,” according to Laurence Peters.   Some feel if they use Word periodically and have the students create a PowerPoint presentation, they are incorporating technology.  Children learn by doing.  This is impossible if the teachers themselves are unable to utilize multiple types of media to benefit the students.  “Learning by doing was a core theme of John Dewey’s work.  It is as important today as it was in his day.”  explains Bob Regan, director of K-12 education at Adobe Systems, Inc.

Learning how to use technology efficiently and effectively in the classroom takes patience and practice.  Regardless of how new the technology is, this money can be quickly wasted if the teachers are not taught how to integrate it into the curriculum.  Professional development is most useful but considering the financial status of many schools, this training is limited at best.  Teaching oneself how to efficiently use technology can be trying and at times completely frustrating.  One must be willing to step outside the box, often trying one approach after another until a solution is found.  Teachers must become proficient at using technology or else we are only hindering the potential growth of our students.

Reflection:

 When I was accepted into the M.E.T. program at Boise State University (BSU), I knew the importance of sharing as much information as possible with the staff I work with.  This new  knowledge, although in the beginning stages, has been met with varied responses.  I have provided staff training twice since the semester began and will continue to do so with the full support of our principal.  One trend I have noticed is a reluctance to try new approaches, which is somewhat difficult to deal with.  Too often, there is criticism before I am able to completely explain a new approach or medium to use in the classroom.  Other times, it appears everyone is on board.

Most recently, I shared with the staff the endless possibilities we would have at our school if we were to use Google drive for our students to conduct research and produce their assignments.  We have been using the Google drive in my classroom for the past two weeks.  The students are thriving with this new, reliable access both in school and at home.  Even if the other classes do not embrace this tool, my students have been exposed to it and have a working knowledge.  I highly respect the staff I work with and will do my best to convey the pros when carefully integrating technology other than using strictly Word and PowerPoint in the classroom.  Once I feel the staff is comfortable with using Google, I will demonstrate how circles can best be utilized.   I will show how circles,  created for all grade levels within the diocese, will all the teachers can collaborate statewide.

References:

Peters, L. (1995). Who’ll teach the teachers?. Educom Review, 30(5), 9.

Regan, B. (2008). Why we need to teach 21st century skills–and how to do it. Multimedia & Internet@Schools, 15(4), 10-13.

Xtranormal was used to create the video. http://www.xtranormal.com

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2 thoughts on “Challenges in Using Technology in the Schools

  1. Good discussion, Catherine. I really empathize and appreciate what you are starting to do in your school and classroom. You have a lot of enthusiasm and energy, which is an important element to effect and sustain change. Keep working on new solutions and trying out new approaches. Technology will continue to change and evolve, and it is our responsibility as educational technologists to inspire and lead.

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