By Teachers, For Teachers
It’s hard to imagine a life without technology in the classroom, now that we are so used to having it be a central part of our lives. But unfortunately, some classrooms are still struggling to keep up with the times. As the use of technology in the classroom increases, digital resources are still not evenly available for all school systems. How can this be in this day and age, you may ask? The use of technology in the classroom has grown at a rapid pace throughout the years, but somehow classrooms are still not fully integrated with the devices that can help student learning and allow students to collaborate with others beyond the school walls. Here we will take a look at what some of the biggest barriers of having technology in the classroom are.
It’s not surprising that the cost of educational technology is the largest obstacle for school districts to be able to fully integrate technology into their classrooms. Ed-tech requires money, and is quite an investment. Local governments are already spending more than they hoped for to equip schools with the necessary technologies that they need, and that number is said to continue to rise. Also, the cost of maintaining this technology can be substantial, as well as training teachers to use it. Some budget-bound schools have allowed students to bring their own devices into the classroom, but this seems to create even more problems because not all students have compatible devices. Overall, underfunding is the main barrier to fully implementing digital devices, such as tablets, laptops, and Smartboards into the classroom.
As mentioned previously, ed-tech costs money, and if you don’t have the money to purchase the digital devices that you need, then you also won’t have the funds to pay for the training of how to use the devices. Training teachers to use these digital devices is essential if you want to have a successful introduction of technology into the classroom. You must remember, not all teachers are comfortable using technology, and many of them haven’t been exposed to these devices because they didn’t grow up using them, like most of their students. Even if you do have teachers who have been exposed to ed-tech devices, it doesn’t mean they know how to properly use them in the classroom. Many educational institutions are aware of this issue, and are now integrating how to effectively use ed-tech in the classroom as part of their college preparation courses.
Another one of the biggest barriers to implementing educational technology into the classroom is “Technological poverty,” as some are calling it. This is when low-income students and school districts do not have access to technology. Even if they did, it doesn’t necessarily mean they have access to the Internet or even have the computer literacy skills to use it. Even if some schools did have some sort of ed-tech device in their classroom, it doesn’t mean that the students have any access to the same device or the Internet at home. So if a teacher was to assign homework that was to be done on the computer, not all students would be able to complete the assignment.
Living in the 21st century means that you are living in a digital era, so to even imagine that someone would resist the use of technology in the classroom seems absurd to many of us. However, there are parents, members of the government, and even teachers who discount the benefits of classroom technology because they believe that it’s unnecessary and children can learn without it. While these individuals are few and far between, their voices are still being heard, and are therefore another barrier to get through. The only way to get these individuals to see the benefits of ed-tech is to keep the conversation going.
Using digital devices in the classroom is not always as easy it may look. You may think, “How could that be? Many children are even better than adults when it comes to technology?” But it takes time and practice to learn how to manipulate and navigate your way through some of these devices. The more time teachers spend “Teaching” their students how to use ed-tech devices, the more time that is lost on actually educating them on actual content. Technology is here to stay, so if you want to break through this barrier, then we need to just learn to be patient.
As teachers and a society, we will continue to try and dissolve the barriers to adopting ed-tech into our classrooms. As technology continues to grow, the conversations about this topic will continue. As a society in whole, we need to ensure that our children in the school system will have access to the tools that they need in order to grow their knowledge.
What do you think is the biggest barrier to technology in the classroom? Do you and your school district face any of these issues? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.