Posted in Directed Learning, Team Teaching

The Trouble With Educational Technology

As I take a closer look at the disadvantages of Educational Technology, common concerns continuously are in the back of my mind. I often hear concerns from people about student learning and the amount of time children spend playing video games and/or watching TV, are children addicted?,  that children and young adolescents don’t communicate well anymore, they have poor communication skills, spend less time outdoors (nature deficit disorder) and are often a distraction from learning.

  Photo Credit: matt hutchinson Flickr via Compfight cc

Truthfully, I have many of the same concerns about student learning. I worry about everything mentioned above, as well as the common issues when it comes to loosing the wireless connections, not having computer carts available unless you plan weeks in advance, and/or not having enough devices for larger groups of students.

I found a great article; Why Some Teachers Are Against Technology in the Classroom that shifted my focus and allowed me to see what the cons of technology might look like through a different lens.

Recently I’ve noticed an increasing number of ed folks enthusiastically question education technology—and do so with enough sarcasm and bitterness and choice language to embarrass their mothers.

For the most part, it is noted that whenever something new is implemented, even when it is curriculum or test-based accountability, educators believe that it is ‘flawed.’ As a result, it builds an interesting dichotomy of both pursuing and resisting of new ideas.

Further complicating matters is the difficulty of effectively integrating technology in the classroom. This is hard for some educators (who do it well) to appreciate. You have to understand content, teaching, and technology on nearly equal terms, and when you don’t it all has an awkward way of illuminating the holes in a teacher’s expertise. That doesn’t mean that teachers that question edtech do so simply because they’re not good at it, but rarely do you hear people complain about things they do well.

In truth, however, this is much more than merely bellyaching. There are a lot of very bright educators–who see the same apps and go to the same trainings and read the same blogs and books that you do– that have a real problem with technology in schools.

I really connected to this article because it makes complete sense and it is what I experience with co-workers or have felt myself over the years. For the most part, it is obvious that having to teach about and/or include something unfamiliar is going to be difficult. It stands to reason that educators will express resistance in an already overwhelming and busy work day.

  Photo Credit

“Rarely do you hear people complain about things they do well.”

Now, when I hear somebody complain or I complain myself, I will be forever reminded of this quote!

I see how teachers struggle with utilizing technology in our classrooms and I also notice that we rarely talk about it as a staff. The focus is much more based on improving reading scores when we meet as a staff, rather than, what are educators doing in their classroom to include technology and at the same time, improve reading scores. As a result, this is where my thoughts go because ever since my first EC&I technology course started in 2014, I have worked hard to enhance student learning through technology. Wouldn’t it be easier, more comforting, and less isolating to understand where our fellow educators stand with technology?

Fortunately, I have a deeper understanding of struggling with including technology in my daily teaching. It is something I continue to work on and search for more answers. I’ve come to realize that collaborating more with my team-teaching partner Lisa, can only be more beneficial for the two of us, as well as, our students. This past year, we have not been collaborating in the area of technology simply because I took on the role at the beginning of the year when Lisa was still on maternity leave. The two of us work well together and I know she will be more than willing and interested in working together as technology collaborators, rather than feeling alone and wondering what to do next or how will we do it?

For my blog post in a couple of weeks, we will be looking at the pros of including technology. The questions will shift from,

“Should we teach with technology?” to “How do people learn best, and how should we design learning experiences in light of prevailing local technology?”

Hopefully, as a result, “fewer of us will have the opportunity to be upset.”

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Author:

My name is Jennifer and I am a Grade 4/5 teacher with the Regina Public School Board. I am taking my 8th class towards my Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. EC&I 833 Foundations of Educational Technology: History, Theory, and Practice.

5 thoughts on “The Trouble With Educational Technology

  1. Great post! I liked that you acknowledged hesitation when incorporating technology. Teachers already face craziness in their everyday life and to add one more thing to it seems insane. I do think if we were to receive the proper training and PD in regards to technology teachers may feel less hesitant and more confident in incorporating technology into their classrooms. I’m glad that you have a partner in crime to work with, this allows you guys to bounce ideas off one another and collaborate different ideas/resources etc! I look forward to reading your blog posts in the weeks to come! 🙂

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  2. I think we can all relate to your post Jen. There will always be a few growing pains for sure. I like that you touched on the importance of collaborating. Sometimes having someone to bounce ideas off of or to show us the way when we need support is just what we need to stay motivated or preserve. You are fortunate to have a team-teaching partner and from what it sounds like, someone who is willing and interested in working together. That’s awesome!

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    1. I do find value in collaborating for sure. That is why, I will miss meeting for classes each week because every time I hear from all of you, it often applies to my own teaching. Thanks for commenting!

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