Why aren’t more teachers using tech? The tech is in place in most US schools, so why is it not being embraced and used by teachers? It was apparent at the ISTE conference that many educators are involved, excited and doing their part to educate themselves and carry the momentum back to their schools. This small group of tech savvy educators is forging ahead, using their own time and money to learn about new technology applications and their potential for classroom use. Unfortunately, these same people are often not able share their expertise with others due to time restraints and a variety of other social and organizational issues. Statistically, only a small percentage of teachers are really embracing technology and using it as an integral part of their everyday lessons. The word on the street is that teachers as a whole have a reputation of being set in their ways and hesitant to try anything new, that they aren’t totally confident with. Also, the acceptance of technology as a viable educational tool may be a contributing factor with parents as well as teachers having strong notions that computers are strictly for games (and this group feels games are non-educational). Another roadblock is the fear that it is difficult to control and restrict content on devices, and students in general will be getting themselves into all kinds of inappropriate sites. Blocking and banning social media is a common practice, which defeats the entire tech initiative.
Our students are Millennias who have tremendous digital fluency; we must tap into that and run with it. It is our responsibility to support and encourage our children and make sure they are given every opportunity to experience technology in all areas of their schooling. Quality and ongoing professional development is a key component in instituting any change in a school system, more often than not this is the biggest challenge that ed-tech initiatives deal with.
Only one third of teachers surveyed by Education Week reported that they use software or the Internet for instruction more than minimally. Of the 53 percent who said they use software at least some of the time, 87 percent use software developed to teach a specific subject (translation: mostly drill-and-practice software); 80 percent use general productivity tools such as word processing, spreadsheet and database programs; and 66 percent use reference tools such as CD-ROM encyclopedias.
According to Education WeekWhen teachers were asked why they do not use software or the Internet for instruction, they reported the following reasons:
Software is too expensive.
There is a lack of computers in the classroom or computers with Internet access.
There is a lack of time to prepare and preview software or web sites.
There is a lack of training on software.
Too much time is needed to use technology.
The school’s computers are not powerful enough.
Technologies are not aligned with curriculum and assessment.
It is difficult to find software to meet student needs (a greater concern for secondary than elementary teachers).