Contrary to popular opinion, newer teachers aren’t any more likely to use technology in their lessons than veteran teachers, and a lack of access to technology does not appear to be the main reason why teachers do not use it: These are among the common perceptions about education technology that new research from Walden University’s Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership appears to dispel.
I’ve found this to be true in the schools we work with. A teacher who has experience with a project-based classroom has a real edge in adapting and adopting technology. These teachers seem to have more of the “chops” necessary for a tech-infused classroom — juggling lots of things going on at once, managing the seeming chaos while still keeping things on track, and dealing with inevitable setbacks and distractions. And often, it’s the veteran teachers with these skills.
Another finding that could surprise some people is that a lack of access to technology doesn’t appear to be the main reason why teachers don’t use technology in their instruction. Only 29 percent of the teachers who said they used specific technology devices less than once a week in their classrooms cited lack of access as the primary reason, while 49 percent said the devices in question weren’t necessary for their lessons.
Again, this rings true to me. I’m not one to point fingers at teachers and say that just because they aren’t using technology, they are not doing their jobs. Sure I’ve met tech-resistant teachers. But I’ve also seen too many times where technology was purchased on a whim by someone enamored by some feature or marketing claim, without input from anyone. I’ve seen lots of closets full of “stuff” that can’t connect to the network, or other fatal flaws that weren’t noticed until too late. Teachers who resist such antics are being professional, not resistant.
As I’ve said before, “You can’t buy change. It’s a process, not a purchase. The right shopping list won’t change education.” (in Let me save you $6,162.48) “Stuff” doesn’t matter as much as if the technology is purchased with a coherent plan. And the plan has to have teacher input and ownership. It even works better when there is student input and ownership as well.
The comments on the article are insightful as well, including bringing up the question – what do you mean by “technology”? This is a subject I’ve addressed before as well, Educational Technology Doesn’t Work?
Does anyone expect that a new gradebook program will inspire a teacher to bring student-centered technology into the classroom? Even using their term “instructional tool” seems pretty loose. Is transferring overhead slides to PowerPoint using a technology as an instructional tool?
This study should be reviewed by all district and school tech committees to see if these “myths” and assumptions have fed into any part of the tech plan.