Barriers to integrating technology into education
Recently I was doing some research and I found an article from Cathleen Norris at The University of North Texas and a past ISTE President. In the article she outlines 10 barriers to technology adoption. I have provided insights as to how this issues could be resolved.
Barrier #1 Lack of Vision:
I wonder how many of us have taken the time to create a vision of what our dream classroom looks like. More then just I want this or that, I'm talking about a real concrete plan with details. I have experienced in my classroom that as I have a vision for what I'd like to see it comes into being sooner then I would have believed possible. Also once you have a vision it makes it easier to share you idea and get your administrator to buy in to the idea.
Barrier #2 Lack of Leadership
I have found success in working with my principal by creating solutions with technology that help her look good amongst her peers. Recently I created a walk-through form for her to use on her iPad with Adobe Forms Central. The form has spread across the entire district and she has gained some notoriety and has been very helpful and interested in what technology can do for our school. It did many things to build trust and it took only about an hour.
Barrier #3 Money
We would all love $10,000 for our classroom but how many of us have a plan in place to spend $10,000? If you don't already know what you need next or have a plan for the money why would anyone give it to you? Plan your next move like you are playing a game of chess. As you have a specific need for the money then people and businesses have something tanagable they can invest in.
Barrier 4, 5, 6, Curriculum
Adobe has created the solution for us right here on edexchange:
Visual Design (Design)
Digital Design (Web)
Digital Video (Video)
Also the classroom in a book series for the CC is already available.
I have also discovered in my classroom that sometimes I just have to create the right lesson myself.
Barrier #7 Infrastructure
This was an issue in my school two years ago when there was no wireless. I was able to buy a time capsule for wireless back up. One of the by products is that it has a wireless router which is powering my own classroom. My district was very much against any wireless network that they didn't control. I was very open about the network I had setup and I made a few waves but since it was plugged into an ethernet cable then the internet was still running through the filter and I was not in violation of federal laws. I password protected it so only I can get on it, the district has since warmed up as they have struggled to organize their own wireless. Some times you need to find a few $100 and solve the issue for you and show how it can work. You need to create what you want so that it can be shared with others and they can begin to understand your vision.
Barrier #8 Parents
Parents can be tough to work with and some kids find themselves lucky if they have a home to go to. However I have found in general that my students parents often are seeking ways to assist in their students learning. With changes in technology the teachers have to be trained but so do the parents. Tutorials would help but some parents will still not have access or other obstacles may stand in the way. I think the best things we can do to help with parents is to be available for questions and if they are really struggling we may need to pick up the phone and have a conversation.
Barrier #9 Time to Change
I have always tried to make sure that my computer lab is up-to-date because I believe my students deserve to learn on current technology. I have personal issues with being out of date, you could say I love to live on the bleeding edge and so do my students. Here is what I have done to keep my lab and curriculum current every year. Some may not like my idea at this point because it is going to require you to work during the summer. I stay away from my lab until July first, at that point my budget resets so I go in and place my purchases for the whole year (I have a vision and a plan for purchasing). I order everything in 2 days and makes sure that I will have enough supplies to get through the entire year. In this way I can avoid having to do PO's for paper and ink in the middle of the busy season. After those two days I leave again for another week while my PO's are approved then I order on one day. Following another week of waiting for it all to ship I go in and un box everything and lay it out. I have to image my own lab so that all starts about 3 weeks before school starts. I work on curriculum on and off when I'm not busy in the summer so that when school starts the computers and curriculum are all ready and a plan is in place. Since the technology is already updated and new software is installed with some fresh curriculum I can focus on instruction and Assessment for the entire year.
Barrier #10 Assessment
The solutions for assessment range from large culminating exams such as the ACA to the smaller check for understanding. When preparing for assessment we have to consider first the outcomes we hope to obtain and then we can consider the assessment and what type of assessment is appropriate. By beginning with the end in mind we can focus on what is important, and if you paid close attention to detail then your outcomes will support the vision you have from Barrier #1.
I was once told in my first week as an educator that technology in education will never be up-to-date and I would need to get used to that. Since then she apologized and has become one of my biggest supporters. You have to create the vision before you can hope to have others understand. Good luck and may your vision come to full fruition!