However, before successful integration can occur, there are five hurdles that must be accounted for and dealt with. If support is not available for overcoming these obstacles, it will be difficult for a teacher to successfully integrate technology.
The first, and most obvious obstacle, is the cost of the technology. If the district, school, or teacher cannot afford to purchase the technology, then it will be impossible to use. If a teacher finds themselves in this unfortunate situation, one solution might be to check out donorschoose.org. Here, teachers can create a post for classroom items they need and can’t afford. Then, people from all over the country can chip in and donate money to help teachers in need.
~ Training ~
Teachers will also need professional development once new technology is purchased. Just because a school has technology, does not necessarily mean it will be used, “Many teachers who have access to technology will not use it, either because they don’t know how, are satisfied with their current approach to teaching, feel that using technology is too fraught with technical difficulties, or don’t have sufficient time to devote to the types of lessons best supported by technology” (Capper 2003).
Therefore, schools must ensure to include professional development in any technology budget. Without proper teacher training, the new technology will inevitably go to waste (Vrasidas 2008). Few things are more frustrating than having awesome new resources that you have no idea how to use.
~ Teacher Beliefs ~
As mentioned above, many times teachers feel their current approach to teaching is fine and don't see the need to modify a curriculum and integrate technology. This can be a sensitive subject at times, especially with veteran teachers who have been teaching successfully for many decades without the use of technology (Leisher & Ranashinghe 2009).
However, in today’s digital society, students must be exposed to technology throughout their education and I believe it is the role of all educators to help facilitate that. But, as mentioned above, teachers need support. Learning a new technology can take a huge amount of time, especially for teachers who may be uncomfortable with tech. Because of this, the IT Staff/Computer Tech teacher must be incredibly supportive and patient in helping teachers integrate new technology.
~ Technical Difficulties ~
As any teacher who has tried to integrate technology can tell you, problems will arise. Maybe the software won’t work, maybe students will forget their passwords, maybe the hardware isn’t powerful enough for the software, the list goes on and on. The best thing for this obstacle, is to expect it.
Technology can be incredibly infuriating if you are not prepared to deal with problems. One solution is to have your IT staff in your class the first few times you try out a new technology. If they’re in your room, they can help troubleshoot any problems that may arise during class and teach the teacher how to deal with those problems in the future.
~ Student Learning ~
The final obstacle to integration is teaching the students how to use the new product. This cannot effectively happen until every other hurdle has been dealt with. Fortunately, students today are incredibly familiar with digital tools and oftentimes pick up new technology much faster than teachers. Despite this fact, the teacher must understand and be comfortable with every aspect of the new technology to ensure that students can quickly and easily pick up the new tool.
Capper, Joanne (2003). “Complexities and Challenges of Integrating Technology Into the Curriculum” Techknowlogia. Retrieved online from: http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_Articles/PDF/471.pdf
Leisher, Diane & Ranasinghe, Arjuna (2009). “The Benefit of Integrating Technology Intro the Classroom” International Mathematical Forum 4, no. 40, 1956-1961.
Vrasidas, Charalambos (2008). “Integrating Technology in the Classroom” Retrieved online from: INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM