Why Educators Won't Dip Their Toes into the Tech Pool...and How to get them to Jump in

After talking with a colleague recently at lunch and looking through my Twitter feed for the last six months or so, I started to wonder why more teachers don't supplement their daily lessons with technology.  I have found and implemented a number of new resources to help my students, and I'm surprised that more teachers haven't joined me yet.  Throughout our conversation and during my 45 minutes on the treadmill that afternoon I came up with a few reasons why teachers stray away from the integration of technology and possible solutions to get our colleagues on board with technology. 

1.  Teacher Apathy

I despise the thought that this is a viable reason for avoiding technology, but let's face it, some educators have been in the profession for that magic number of years that makes them believe that they have found the perfect way of educating each student.  Their perfect way happens to be lecturing for 40 minutes each day, but that's neither here nor there.  These teachers don't want to look for new ways to do things because they don't care to find new ways to do things.  Based on my observations, these people are few and far between.

Many of us are doing new, exciting things in our classrooms.  I use Web 2.0 tools such as GlogsterEDU and bubbl.us as often as possible.  My students love these activities, so I encourage them to talk about them.  Tell their parents, tell their peers, and tell their teachers about what they are doing in my class.  I think that when more students begin to share their positive experiences with technology in the classroom, the students and parents will begin to pressure our few apathetic colleagues to try something new. 

2.  Fear of the Unknown

I think that most teachers fall into this category.  I know that being worried about how a project would go or my students running wild while in the computer lab has kept me from integrating technology before.  It is natural to be nervous before starting any new endeavor: a new job, a first date, a new graduate program; however, if you don't try, you will never be able to succeed!

While it isn't every educator's nature to jump right in to the technology pool (or any pool, at that), starting small and working your way up to more complex projects will often times cure that fear of the unknown.  For example, I have always done a research project in the second semester of my 9th and 10th grade language arts classes.  This year, I decided to replace the poster project I usually do with a Glogster.  I couldn't be happier that I did!  I made sure that I was prepared before I launched the project and, for the most part, my students loved it. Not only did they enjoy their learning experience, but also I was able overcome my fear of using technology as a teaching tool. 

3.  Accessibility Issues

There isn't enough technology in your school.  The technology you have isn't up to date.  The sites you want to use are blocked.  I am sure that most educators who have experimented with new forms of technology can relate to these statements.  Accessibility keeps many of my colleagues from integrating technology in their lessons.   The lack of accessibility is frustrating for well-intended educators who would otherwise be integrating technology into their daily lessons.

In my building teachers line up on the first contracted work day of the year to reserve the computer lab for their class.  Advanced planning is probably the best way to combat the lack of accessibility of building-wide hardware.  If your district is anything like mine, there are plenty of websites blocked that are actually valuable teaching tools and resources.  I talked to my building principal yesterday about a school-safe Twitter back channel, todaysmeet.com.  He was more than willing to investigate the site and do his best to make it available for instructional use.  I think that communication is key when it comes to making blocked websites available for classroom  use.

I'm sure that most of your have at least a few colleagues who fall into the categories I listed above.  Share these suggestions with them to transform them from educators who think about or despise using technology to educators who thirst for new ways to integrate technology into their lessons.


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