Sunday, February 10, 2013

So Many Devices, So Little Use

In this article by Howard Pitler, he shares data gathered by McREL, which has a classroom tool called Power Walkthrough.  They gathered information from more than 60,000 classrooms that use this tool.  They went into classrooms to see what kinds of technology were being used and how often they were used by both teachers and students.  Graphing calculators, interactive whiteboards, document cameras, online software, and many other similar technologies were recorded.  If any of these technologies were used even briefly, they recorded the classroom as having used technology.  Their studies revealed that in 63 percent of their observations of teachers, no technology was utilized.  This number increased to 73 percent for students utilizing no technology.

In an era where emphasis has been put into using technology to educate our students, these numbers seem appalling.  In many of these situations, the teachers had easy access to use technology.  It was their decision to simply not use the technology.  The main reason for this was their lack of confidence in being able to use the technology appropriately.  For example, some teachers in the Midwest were taught how to use a technology at a workshop.  They were excited to go back to their classrooms and use this technology, but their software was slightly different and they were not able to use it the way they had been taught.

By this point, all of us have had plenty of experiences with learning new technologies.  The process can be very frustrating and time consuming.  The blame for teachers not being able to use the technologies appropriately falls onto the school administrators and the teachers themselves.  School administrators cannot expect a teacher to be able to learn how to use an Interactive Whiteboard from one training session. But teachers cannot expect to be able to use the Interactive Whiteboard without experimenting with it on their own time.  The best way we learn how to use a new technology is through experimenting.

School administrators need to provide teachers with better training, and teachers need to be more committed to learning how to use the tools provided to them.  Research has shown that using technology is the key to educating the students of today.  So, as teachers, we are obligated to make sure we are prepared to teach in such a way.

Below is the link to the article.