Integrating Technology : Can be Difficult

March 2, 2009 at 4:24 pm (Rethinking Technology in Schools) (, , )

Integrating technology into the classroom is not as simple as some might believe. It is not merely using various technologies within the school, it requires an understanding if how this technology can be used to meat curricular goals. It is required that teachers use technology to further their students understanding of their subject. Even for the most technologically literate teacher, integrating technology into the classroom can be a challenge.

Schools with higher than average drop-out rates, those with low parental involvement and schools with a large number of student disciplinary problems may find it difficult to integrate technology effectively. Instead of being able to focus on using technology to further their student’s education, the teachers are instead focused on the schools difficulties with their students, not even having time to think about interesting methods of teaching. Technology also creates difficulties with schools, as there are more budget constraints involved as well as security and access challenges. For a school to even consider making technology part of their teaching practice, the budget must be taken into account.

Technology is expensive; computers, digital cameras and camcorders, video equipment, etc. is all extremely expensive. This equipment can also be extremely delicate. Therefore, purchasing such things cannot be taken lightly, and isn’t. Then, once the technology is purchased, there is the difficulty of monitoring who has access to those things. What happens if something gets broken or stolen? What type of websites should not be accessed by students while they are at school? All of this must be taken into account.

For grades 10, 11 and 12 I attended a private boarding school as a day student. At this school there was a mandatory laptop program. Each student was required to have a dell laptop and to bring it to each class unless otherwise told. For my three years at that school technology was a daily part of my life. All of my projects, papers, etc. where done on my computer. My classes in English, history, world issues and some science courses required the use of my computer. I was fortunate enough to have teachers who were well versed in the world of technology, and therefore had the opportunity to learn a great deal about it. We were required to have dell laptops because there were two men who worked at our school who were our IT guys, and because we all had the same laptop it was easier for them to fix problems. When we needed a new part, they were able to quickly order it. They only had to be well versed in the ways of the Dell laptop, as opposed to Macs, Toshiba, etc. These men were also in charge of Cybercop, the bane of every student’s existence. This software allowed them to block things such as MSN, Facebook, Miniclip, etc. while we were using the schools network. If a site was becoming to popular, one day you would type in the sites URL and sure enough, the cursed words “this website has been blocked by Cybercop” would appear.

I was extremely lucky to have had my education so well integrated into technology, however, many of my friends who went to public schools were not so fortunate. While they had computers at home, the teachers could not assume that they all did. Therefore their projects and papers could be done by technology, but they could also always be done in more traditional methods. There was no reason for teachers to be versed in the ways of technology, they merely had projects and papers for the students to do, if the student wished to incorporate technology then it was up to them.

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