What’s the Bigger Issue?

While thinking about my topic for this week, I started to really think about the issues of bringing technology in the classroom. I found that they are several issues hindering the “advancement” of the classroom, but I’m not sure if there is an issue larger than the other. Some of the things that I have heard that are issues for bringing technology in the classroom include budget, supervision of devices, lack of personal devices, lack of support, and lack of knowledge. While budget is usually the main issues, I want to share my thoughts about the remaining issues.

Everyone can think of at least 5 free apps that would be useful in the classroom. There’s no doubt that while they are some really great low-priced apps, some free ones are great as well. So what’s the problem? While these apps are free, that doesn’t mean every student has the appropriate device required. For example, even in my college courses, not everyone has an iPad or a smartphone (hard to believe, I know). If it’s like that with adults, it’s definitely like that for younger students. It could very well be that the parents have multiple children.

Let’s say that every student did have the appropriate device. The question becomes how would the teacher be able to supervise every student. Since the school wouldn’t be able to control what’s already on their devices, students could be doing anything with them during times when they should be working. They may have the capability to block certain sites but that doesn’t mean students can’t be sending messages, playing games, etc. when they should be doing work.

Other issues involve the lack of support and lack of knowledge from colleagues. Sometimes these two issues can be wrapped up in each other. Many people don’t want to change because they don’t know how while others are just set in their ways.  I have heard many times that teachers can’t have any devices or apps used because their fellow teachers don’t want to or don’t have time to learn something new. It’s also been said that while they have the support from their cohort, the administration denies them. Alot of them have said the reason for that is because they have an “old school” idea of how the classroom should be structured.

I guess to answer my question, it depends on where the question is asked. Do you answer the question when budget isn’t an issue, but lack of support is? What about when you have all the support in the world, but can’t control what your students do on their devices? I know I listed a few issues. Are there any issues that you can think of? Do you feel that any issue is larger than the other?

 

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6 thoughts on “What’s the Bigger Issue?

  1. Kia said, “Many people don’t want to change because they don’t know how while others are just set in their ways.”

    This is so unfortunate if this is the case in a classroom. With the advancements of technology, there is so much out there for students. Like you Kia said, most of it is free too!

    I feel fortunate to have grown up when I did. I feel comfortable with using and implementing technology. I am also very willing to adapt my curriculum to resources that I find that will be beneficial for the students.

    Even with the knowledge of technology that I have, I feel like there is so much more out there. It’s overwhelming if you stop and think about it. I just try to use what I have and take advantage of what I can get hold of.

    Allyson

    • Allyson,
      Being able to adapt is very useful in teaching. As I stated, some people are stuck in their ways and they aren’t willing to go out of their comfort zone. That’s part of the reason why students are bored because nothing is keeping their attention in the classroom.
      Good response!

  2. Kia said: “While these apps are free, that doesn’t mean every student has the appropriate device required. For example, even in my college courses, not everyone has an iPad or a smartphone (hard to believe, I know).”
    I agree with your comment as it would definitely create an issue with trying to use cellphones in classrooms. Everyone has different tastes when it comes to technology. You have the die-hard iPad/iPhone lovers, then you have the die-hard Android/Tablet lovers. Unfortunately, all apps do not work on both platforms which would make it difficult to integrate inside the classroom. What about those who are not into fancy devices and still own flip phones? Do they even still make those? Flip phone users would be left out.

    Kia also said: “I have heard many times that teachers can’t have any devices or apps used because their fellow teachers don’t want to or don’t have time to learn something new.”
    This is a constant theme amongst teachers because they already have enough on their plates. Teaching is a very challenging career. With the pressures from administration and student performance, it can be difficult to incorporate these extra perks. There is so much that a teacher is responsible for on a daily basis. For instance, lesson planning, emails, instructing, meetings, observations, etc. In addition, teachers have to make time for professional development. All those things combined can be pretty overwhelming. Therefore, teachers have good reason for not wanting to use it or learn something new.

    • Tameika,
      You’re right about teachers having a lot on their plates. As I stated, sometimes, it’s not a matter of them not wanting to use the technology, it’s a matter of them having time to not only plan out how to use it but to learn how to use it themselves. You made a good point about the different device people use. Some apps don’t work on all devices. Though they are not as popular anymore, there are still older phones like the flip phones out there.
      Very good points!

  3. Kia,

    Those are some very accurate and valid questions your ask. But aside from the money conversation (where there’s a will, there’s a way), I think the more pressing question deals with supervising and monitoring the student to insure he or she is and remains on task and focused. I believe minimal “hovering” is needed when the student is fully engaged and actively participating in a lesson or project. When that happens, you are able to float, support, and assist rather than be on the lookout for people doing the wrong thing.

    You accomplish this by the lesson they are doing. Is it interesting? Is it relevant? Does the lesson apply to them? Is the assignment or project worth doing and completing? These are all questions to ask about any lesson, but especially those involve technology. Why? Technology is cool! Technology is fun! It can be entertaining and educational. Technology can be a distraction or an asset to a lesson. It fully is dependent upon how it is integrated into a lesson and how the student receives that lesson. If the student buys into what you want done, they will focus and use the tools provided for their intended purpose. If not, they will be on Twitter or Google—ing the latest Jordan’s they want to get. Lesson planning and designing has MUCH to do with how appropriately technology is used in the class.

    Actually, now that I think of it, this may help with the other questions you had as well. When students have positive experiences with technology in your class, they talk. They tell their friends, who tell their friends, then maybe a teacher overhears and wants to know more. Eventually, administration finds out and also wants to know what you’re doing. In being THAT teacher you’ve created a positive experience for your students as well as buzz and intrigue on campus. People, students to administration, want to know what you did and what you’re doing. That in itself is often enough to bring people out of their “old school” comfort zone and at least think about and eventually utilize technology to accompany their teaching. Who knows? This too might be enough to get admin to “find some money” in the budget for that technology you have had your eye on.

    -Mark

    • Mark,
      You made some great points. I think it is important for teachers to supervise their students. They methods that you mentioned does make it seem easier for that to be accomplished. My online concern with that is that a lot of times, teachers have to use their class as the guinea pigs the first couple of times, which means that it could be shut down before they can get to the point of which it’s interesting and they’ve been able to balance teaching with supervision. I think that’s why it’s important to have the support ahead of time because some people would be waiting for it to fail.
      Great response!

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