July 9, 2005
Conditions for Classroom Technology Innovations
I liked this study a great deal. It highlights the difficulties teachers have in implementing technology in their classrooms and all of the facets that need to be taken into consideration. How often do we as teachers attend a conference, become excited at the thought of integrating a new concept or technology into our curriculum only to find that we did not take into account all of the necessary components? The integration of technology is not something that is going to happen over night and there are so many components to it that we as teachers need to be aware of.
There were many points outlined in the study that I found to be significant.
“When the value of technology was limited to peripheral functions, such as adding novelty to teaching, the likelihood of success was greatly reduced.”(pg. 492) I have witnessed this in so many situations. Teachers just want to add a little something new to their teaching but find that without integrating technology for true teaching purposes they end up with a botched lesson or unit. The technology becomes more of a hindrance than anything else.
“In contrast to Kathy is Willa, whose pedagogical beliefs were not consistent with her project. Her project originated from on in-service seminar.” (pg. 493) In-service seminars are great at inspiring those who attend them, but how often do they go beyond the inspiration and delve deeply into all of the facets of what they are proposing? The interest to integrate technology may begin at an in-service but before true integration can occur the teacher must know all he/she is getting his/her self into.
“To make computers work teachers often need to continuously interact with technicians and administrators, two groups of people teachers have not traditionally had close relationships with.” (pg. 494) I have experienced this many times and made sure that I kept in close contact with both. At one school I had the son of the man who was the head of technology. He was the individual who was responsible for keeping the systems and computers working. I learned quite quickly to use this to my advantage. I also learned that a plate of homemade cookies went a long way.
I think it is also important to stress the fact that a teacher’s relationship with his/her colleagues can make a significant difference. Also important is the presence of a translator. This person should be available in every school and district. So many teachers do not, and are not interested in, integrating technology due to the lack of guidance they have. Technology is an intimidating and often scary thing to bring into the classroom. With so many aspects that can go wrong a teacher needs someone to support him/her.
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