Smerden, B, Cronen, S, Lanahan, L, Anderson, J, & Iannotti, N, Angeles, J. (2000). Teachers' Tools for the 21st Century: A report on teachers' use of technology. Education Statistics Quarterly, [2 (4)], Retrieved April 2, 2008,from http://nces.ed.gov/programs/quarterly/Vol_2/2_4/e_section5.asp.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can change my instructional strategies so that I better integrate technology and teach my students the technological skills they need to possess outside of school, regardless of if they have a computer at home. This article, although somewhat dated (1999), gave some facts that really relate not necessarily all to me, but definitely to my district and, more specifically, my school.
First, here are some interesting facts that I have read in many article and believe them to be true:
Teachers in low-minority and low-poverty schools are more likely to use computers than teachers in high-minority and high-poverty schools. I contribute this to the lack of funding and/or resources available for certain school districts.
Teachers with fewest years experience used the internet to gather materials for their lessons. I see this at my school for sure! Instead of using an old worksheet given to me by a colleague, I would rather go online and find a new and up to date worksheet, whereas the opposite is true for some of my colleagues.
“Teachers may be more likely to integrate computers and the Internet into their classroom instruction if they have access to adequate equipment and connections” (Smerdon, Cronen, Lanahan, Anderson, Iannotti, & Angeles, 2000). Although my first reaction to this was DUH, who wouldn’t use the equipment if they had it? I then realized that I work with a few teachers who have brand new Smart Boards in their room, yet they don’t use them at all! Maybe this quote is not as common sense as I thought.
Teacher preparation in computer use is a key factor if you want to have successful technology integration in each classroom. Two main ways for teachers to learn how to use technology is through professional development and through independent learning. Personally, I think independent learning in this situation is one of the best options and is very beneficial, although it can be time consuming.
Two main barriers to teachers using technology in their classroom is not enough computers and lack of time to learn. Here is where I have a problem. “Lack of time to learn”…..isn’t it our job to learn how to use technology so that we can teach our students how to use technology? Teaching our students the technological skills they will need for the future is of almost the same importance as teaching them their math facts or how to write in a complete sentence. The end goal for all of these skills is the same…to help them have successful futures. Therefore, I have a huge problem with teachers who are not even willing to TRY to integrate technology into their lessons. We are in the age of technology and we need to accept that and embrace it; not just for our sake, but for the sake of our students.