Monday, November 10, 2008

Technology in the classroom

When I was hired here oh so many years ago, I was to work with teacher to integrate technology into their classrooms. The job changed quickly, to more of the fixing and planning technology for the district. I do very little integration work, but try hard to do some whenever possible. 

I have made many opportunities in terms of equipment and specific training for these pieces of equipment, but getting into the classroom to demonstrate is difficult. 

I ran across this blog post on why we are not integrating technology into the classroom.  He lists 5 reasons why:

  1.  Technology is expensive
  2.  Technology is broken or unavalable
  3.  Technology use is not tested
  4.  Technology lessons are not well planned
  5.  Fear of losing control

What is the reason the teachers here are not using technology? Looking point by point:

1. Technology is expensive. Yes it is. I have been lucky in that my funding level has remained the same for the 9 years I have been here. Which is cool as that the cost of technology has dropped over this time. We have good penetration of technology in the schools and classrooms. 

2. Technology is broken or unavailable: Our stuff works, and it is generally available, unless it is the end of the year when many teachers decide to do a "project". We worked on spreading these out last year and there was available technology. Here is what we have in a 6-12 school with less than 400 students: 2 mobile labs with 20 computers, a computer lab with 30 computers, a library with 20 computers, an on-line learning lab with 24 computers, and two technology labs with 25 each. 1 out of 4 classrooms have smartboards. Each classroom has at least one computer, many have more. Several digital camera and digital video cameras, available methods to post to the web. Technology  is available here.

3. Technology use is not tested. That is correct. It is not on our state tests. But do students who do technology projects do better on state tests? Do they learn higher level skills? I think so, or spending all of this money is useless

4. Technology lessons are not well planned. Many lessons are not well planned. That is why we need integration specialists to work with the teachers. Mentoring. 

5. Fear of losing control. See this with many teachers. They want to dispense the knowledge. Sometimes the students know more about topics than teachers do. Let them teach. I see many students helping teachers with SmartBoards, which is cool. I like to see that.

I would guess around here the problem goes to 4&5. We need to work on that.

1 comment:

Mathew said...

Thank you for continuing the dialogue. I'm glad to hear you have a lot of technology in your school. Are you hiring?

But seriously, I have heard from several bloggers that poor planning is a problem with traditional lessons as well as those integrating technology and it is something we need to work on across the board.