Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Barriers and Reasons to Just Go for It

I wrote this bit after reading Chapter 4 in Supporting New Models of Teaching and Learning Through Technology by Johnston and Cooley:

Below are some of the barriers I come across regularly when trying to use technology in school:

1. Budget (It costs money)
2. training teachers (This also costs money)
3. Reluctant teachers (The why change what I am doing if it works argument)
4. Effectiveness (Ongoing arguments over the effectiveness of technology in the classroom)
5. Fear (The kids these days will only know how to type in IM lingo) also (the internet is a dangerous place)
6. Luddites (Some people will just always see tech as inferior to standard methods.  These people also see the internet as almost entirely unreliable)

Can you think of more?  How do these problems manifest themselves in your school?

Concerning reason number 4 from above:  I think that the Johnston/Cooley text is still relevant even though it is a bit dated in ways.  In fact, it feels as though it is just turning the corner of getting a bit too old.  This chapter dealt with whether or not there is real evidence concerning whether or not integrating technology increases student learning.  This is still an idea which has been thrown around, but the argument itself is becoming irrelevant as integrating technology becomes less about how it can help learning and more about integrating tech for the sake of keeping students up to date with how to use technology.  (Wow, that is one poorly worded and structured sentence.  Let's see if I can break that down.)  It's no longer entirely about how integrating tech can increase test scores or student learning in some measurable way.  Now, tech has reached a point where it would be almost criminal not to teach it to our students because it is how they are alredy interacting, and it is the way that the whole world is adapting.  It's important to integrate technology or else we may not be preparing our students for the real world. 

So, my personal opinion?  Go for it.  It's a time of experimentation and excitement, and I hope that all teachers will take the time to teach themselves so that they may better reach their students and prepare them for the world.  There is no longer an excuse.  Jump on board the tech wave or get left behind along with your students.

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