Friday, January 10, 2014

What are the chief barriers to educational technology adoption? It depends on who you ask.

As I've stated previously, technological solutions to problems can be achieved easily. The real challenge is in creating the business environment in which to employ the technology. Perhaps laws need to be changed, or inter-agency agreements need to be completed. Perhaps laid-off workers need to be compensated. These issues are often much more difficult than the technological issues themselves.

At vsrious times, various people have tried to identify those things that serve as barriers to incorporating advanced technology in classrooms. For example, one person identified ten factors, including this one:

Lack of Leadership. If the superintendent or the principal says, “Teachers, we are going to use technology in our school, but you decide how and when,” then failure to adopt is assured. There is no shortage of excuses for not taking the time to integrate technology into one’s classroom. It takes leadership to say, “Teachers, we are going to use technology in our school—and this is not optional.”

But is this truly a barrier to technology adoption? It certainly is to the organization that provided the list - District Administration: Solutions for School District Management.

However, there was another study that did not mention "lack of leadership" at all. This study, co-sponsored by the National Education Association and the American Federal of Teachers, identified different issues.

"Access, Adequacy, and Equity in Education Technology," published by the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, provides several broad recommendations for effecting change over the long term. They include: Improve classroom access to hardware, software, and the Internet, bolster technical support, strengthen professional development around the instructional uses of technology, and enlist teachers unions to advocate for tech funding and support.

That's funny - the district administrators didn't say anything about enlisting teachers unions.

It's not that one group is right and the other group is wrong - it's just that when a study is dominated or influenced by a single stakeholder, concerns of other stakeholders inevitably get left out.
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