While the benefits of technology integration are clear, the reality of making this happen is often wrought with obstacles. While obstacles may be real, they are not immovable.
Obstacles and Solutions
Access to Resources: A primary concern among many educators regarding technology integration is the lack of access to resources. Schools have limited hardware to use and access to computer labs on a large campus is often difficult to come by. Access to the internet is also troublesome at some school sites which makes integration challenging. Additionally, resources on school campuses to support the use of technology such as an IT support person are almost non existent.
Potential Solutions: Many schools are beginning to implement a Bring Your Own Device Policy to bring more technology into the classrooms. While this may take a lot of work to implement, the access to technology can be greatly improved when implmented. Using students to work as a support team can be a powerful approach to solving some of the technology problems on a school campus.
Teacher Skill: This is often a struggle at many school sites. Teachers who are uncomfortable with their own technology skills are unlikely to integrate technology into their curriculum. Educators who have not been witness to the power that technology can bring often are hesitant to bring technology in their classrooms. Some are even outwardly resistant. With low technology skills and and unwillingness to learn, the challenges schools face when implementing technology are tremendous.
Potential Solutions: Providing effective training can increase teacher skill.
Training: Effective teacher training can be costly. School districts with limited resources often expect teachers to implement new tools and methods with minimal training, even though the need is great. Without the right people and/or funding, the training that is necessary is often overlooked.
Potential Solutions: Training can come in a variety of forms:college course work, district developed training, online trainings, etc. Districts must find ways to train teachers. Additionally, the training must be geared toward specific needs of individual teachers. To save on costs, teachers with knowledge and expertise can serve as trainers on school sites.
Teacher Attitude: Teachers’ attitude regarding the use of technology can often be the most challenging obstacle a school must overcome. In one study, students expressed concern that it often appeared that their teachers did not understand that technology plays a significant role in students’ lives outside of school. These students believed that if teachers had a better understanding of this, they would bring more technology into the classrooms.
Potential Solutions: Bring teachers into the discussions about technology use. By modeling ways to teach standards and current curriculum, teachers are much more likely to have buy in.
BYODExplorations – Home. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from http://byodexplorations.wikispaces.com/
Barriers to Integrating Technology – The Digital Librarian. (n.d.). Retrieved November 16, 2014, from https://sites.google.com/site/thedigitallibrarian/barriers-to-integrating-technology