Many surveys have been conducted on technology integration in classrooms and one issue has been consistent in all of them: teachers are opposed to the idea of technology in schools. Despite the many benefits of embracing edtech in the education system, teachers are still not elated by the prospects of dispensing their duties using technology. Some experts claim that it is due to fear of change that teachers do not want to let go of the status quo. Others cite techno-phobia as the sole reason for this reluctance. However, the situation is more complex than that. There are so many reasons that are hindering teachers from embracing technology.
Reasons why teachers are not adopting edtech in their lessons
While students today are regarded as “Digital Natives”, teachers are really struggling to catch on. And, it is not an issue of digital incompetence, teachers know how to use all forms of technology. They own them and use them all the time. Although most teachers fear, edtech is not outside their realm of understanding. It is basically normal hardware like computers, smartphones and tablets that are operated by special software designed specifically for schools. So, why is digital migration giving teachers the jitters?
Lack of Training
Most teachers cite lack of training as the main reason for their reluctance to accept edtech. It is true that most education authorities get carried away with the implementation part of technology and completely forget about teacher training. Technology moves so fast and new devices and apps are being developed at an alarming rate. For teachers, this is too much to keep up with. Even if teachers get some specialized training, it is only a matter of time before the devices and apps are faced out and the teachers have to go through another training to keep up with the times.
While some teachers undergo some form of training, it is usually not sufficient to prepare them for the challenging task ahead. The training is usually technologically focused instead of pedagogically focused. Teachers are trained by tech experts how to use the devices and apps, but not to how apply them in an education setting. Teachers therefore have to find a way to make the devices work, which can be frustrating. Teachers have a lot in their plate and the thought of having to employ trial and error methods dissuades them from even trying to use technology.
Lack of Proper Infrastructure
Institutions are very quick to adopt technology without setting up the right infrastructure first. The people who bear the brunt are the teachers, who have to deal with mechanical problems, system delays and failures which may hamper the learning process. Also, to whom do the teachers run to when they experience problems? The tech experts will only fix a system malfunction, but what about a pedagogical problem?
Wrong Tech and Lack of Syllabus Integration
The prospects of having the right tech is also hindered by the fact that teachers are never consulted in the creation and procurement of edtech devices. Lack of involvement is what triggers this resentment towards technology, as teachers feel like pawns who are being used to bring about change without their consent. Also, lack of integration of syllabus with the technology may lead to procurement of the wrong devices, as education authorities do not know what they are looking for. This makes it hard for teachers to carry out their duties, because they cannot make the right connection between what they teach and how to integrate it to the technology.
Benefits of Technological Integration in Classrooms
Although many teachers feel that using technology is not part of their job description, technology has so many benefits for both students and teachers. Here are the key benefits of technology in classrooms.
Improves individual learning
Students will have all the resources they need at their fingertips. With online resources and good Wi-Fi connectivity, students can access whichever education material they need without the trouble of skimming through books in the library or asking relatives and friends to “edit my paper” every time. This will save time and make learning more flexible, as students can access learning material from anywhere.
It fosters cooperation and team work
With technology, students can form study groups and work on different tasks online. This improves their collaboration skills and allows them to solve problems jointly and uplift each other academically. The online study groups are not limited to students in the same classrooms. With the right technology, these study groups can extend to other peer groups around the world. This will facilitate proper transfer of ideas and allow students to appreciate other cultures around the world.
It equips them with useful life skills
We are in the information age, where everything is computerized. By giving students the opportunity to use technology from their informative years, they will gain all the useful skills they need to be successful in life. Technology is definitely the future and the earlier they starting learning about technology, the better.
It is very natural for all humans and not just teachers to fear change. Initially, it seems hard and discomforting, but eventually people get used to it and eventually adapt. Technology in classrooms is not meant to make things hard for teachers, but to lighten the burden. Teachers should therefore embrace technology, as soon as possible or they will be phased out by the new crop of teachers, who will be tech savvy and hail from the “Digital Natives”. While teachers are making it hard for edtech to take root in the education system, the powers that be are also complicating the issue further by choosing not to include teachers in the transition process. All is needed is for the systems to be standardized, the syllabus to be integrated and the teachers involved both in the creation of the apps and procurement of the devices.
Stephanie Ward is an academic writer and editor, expert at writing guides for students.