What do you think the biggest hurdle is to teachers integrating even the smallest amounts of technology in their everyday practices? Lets discuss this and then the approaches to overcoming the hurdles.

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"Most teachers above the age of 30 are simply afraid and don’t want to look dumb" - my gut feeling is that age has nothing to do with fear of new technology. Most of the teachers I know who are using web20 are way over the 30 mark, while my own children and their friends, (late teens and early 20's) are still relying on email and messenger.
I'm 36. And I have always been a total GEEK.
Okay. As an early adopter, teacher, my building's tech peer coach and a peer coaching facilitator it sure looks to me like the biggest obstacle is fear. So many teachers I know REFUSE to use technology in their lessons because they either fear that the technology itself will fail or that something will happen that they didn't anticipate and they might look like they didn't know what they were doing. So, what? If the kids see you have a problem, the lesson they take away is "Cheryl has failures, too, but at least she tried." (Our school is one of those first-name basis schools.). If the kids see you have a problem and you ask if any of them have any ideas about how to solve it, I guarantee you that you'll have at least one, maybe even a half dozen, who have a solution and are eager to get up and help out. And, what does that teach the kids? "Cheryl thinks enough of us to ask for our help. Cool. She wants to learn from us."

Kelly is right. Time is a huge factor. Time to poke at the buttons to see what they do, time to muck something up and figure out how to repair it (ctrl-z is my best friend), time to imagine how something might fit into the curriculum.

The question, then, is how to help our peers get over their fear. I admit it. I have no magic bullet. I have spent countless hours working with some folks just because they felt like they could do something if they had someone holding their hand (that is one of the roles of a peer coach, after all). I have some teachers who refuse to use a computer unless I'm sitting at my desk in the lab. I have some teachers who simply refuse to use any sort of technology more advanced than a pencil or a phone (somehow, a cell phone doesn't qualify as technology) even when they are required to check email daily. I also have some colleagues who have resisted and then have taken the leap only to be totally transfixed by the possibilities.

Ranting aside, from where I sit, it seems to me that the best way to get some folks to use the tech tools is for them to know that they have someone around that they can turn to, someone who isn't going to ridicule them when they make a mistake. For those of us who've been at this for a while, it's always good to remember that we were once the ones running to the tech department because we'd done something or another and needed help. Heck, I still do it several times a day! Fortunately, my tech support guy is 6' away!

Sadly, some teachers will never see the light.
They have to GET OVER IT. Teachers are afraid to lose even the smallest bit of control. What they don't get in general is that they will never regain control. Kids have so much more time to focus their energies on learning whatever that they will ALWAYS know more and so teachers must learn to GET OVER IT. Stop whining. I may sound a little frustrated but I am really tired of hearing about this. Let's just move one and figure out what to do next. Right now I have a couple of people doing podcasting and few more doing blogs with kids responding in writing. As long as there are people who want to push ahead...it makes it worth it. My 2¢.
Teachers need support. Every district should have a computer teachers and aides in the lab to work along side teachers and to show them the possiblities. Being an "apprentice" is the best way to learn and has worked in this country for hundreds of years. Also, showcasing the works of dedicated teachers who use technology at faculty meetings is another way to inspire teachers to use more technology. Did I metion staff training too.
Great discussion...everyone seems to be saying the same thing. Fear is a factor but can be overcome by teachers willing to learn. Time is a factor but time is always a factor in teaching and, as Ginger reminds us, teaching is NOT a part time, 6 hour a day job. I spend hours at home learning new curriculum, planning new units, learning curriculum when my grade changes, and, now, learning new tech tools. No difference...it's part of the job. But the key thing for me and other teachers I work with is training. I love Steve's idea of workshops for districts. I've actually been asked to teach one and now feel I need to become a Web 2.0 expert in order to do just that. Who's going to teach me? I guess I'll just have to spend hours teaching myself, working with the tools, practicing. How much easier it would be if I went through some training, with follow up in the classroom.
I think all of these factors are very real--lack of time, technical problems, and fear all do enter in.

But this discussion also brings to mind the importance of administrators.

An administrator can advocate creating a schedule with more time for teacher training, can advocate for more computer staff, can advocate for unfiltered use of blogs or wikis, and can create a climate of openness and innovation.

I'm presenting at an administrator's conference in a couple of weeks on using web 2.0 tools for administrators, and sadly, when I looked at the schedule for that this week, I noticed that most of the other sessions regarding technology were all things like "danger" on the internet, "dangers of myspace", etc. What can we, as technology literate teachers, librarians, or professionals do to support and positively inform our administrators across the country about web 2.0 tools?

Maybe more of us should offer to teach sessions at conferences like NASSP? Or invite our administrators to get a free subscription to Edutopia? Or write articles ourselves for administrative journals showing real support that these tools can provide?

I know many of the great blogs that I read are done by school principals, and these principals are providing a great model for their colleagues. But they can't lead the charge on their own (not that they are alone--I'm sure I am exaggerating a little here.)

My point is, administrators can make a tremendous different in the climate and enthusiasm level for change on a campus, and that is another factor we shouldn't overlook in this discussion.
Confidence, training, desire, hardware and software.
FEAR. Of change.
I think biggest hurdle to teachers in integrating technology in their every day practices
for that matter for any individual worker in any organisation
is NEED to work using technology. NEED may come from WITHIN (teacher himself falling in a situation that he cannot manage his work without technology, for example, communicating with parents by email) or WITHOUT (that is ORGANISATION, school or Govt. imposing on teachers as part of their duties to use
technology, for example, to allot certain jobs such as blogging, wikis, forums, courses in Moodle as their Key Performance Areas(KPA) for noting in their Service Record, Promotion Appraisals, etc.
Recognition of NEED by teachers comes automatically, when NEED is recognised by GOVT./ ORGANISATION (like we may guess the idea behind the questions by US Secretary of Ed (Question #1 to Question #4).
Some teachers are just not willing to take the time to learn about new technologies and some just don't know how to integrate it into the classroom. Something that is useful and easy to someone could be just as challenging and useless to another. If something is new, fresh, and unfamiliar, would you automatically know what to do with it?

I am officially OLD. I learned about computers when the computers used punched cards. I don't use the control key for commands.  I use the menus. 

HOWEVER, I am one of the most technology interested people in my building. I love getting a new gadget and wish my district had access to more! I agree with most of the people here that the main detriment to using more technology is time but also interest. Even when the technology is as simple as a network printer, some people do not want to learn how to control the settings. When you are dealing with a person who is unwilling to try to understand something that will fix a problem they encounter daily, it is unlikely that person will ever embrace the technology challenge voluntarily.

I try to overcome the hurdles by being sneaky.  Having those who are reluctant "catch" me doing something they find interesting. Showing by example that slowly we can move forward since even I can do it!

I also think that a big problem is that the technology available keeps changing.  A person will learn how to do something with the hardware they were given and now there is new hardware with new ways to control it.  After a few cycles of this some just give up and don't want to invest themselves over and over again.

One last thought - Are we sure that using ALL of the technology available will actually advance student learning or is it just more entertaining than filmstrips?



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