Teachers incorporate technology in the classroom for different reasons: to hold students’ attention, deepen learning, encourage collaboration, or develop learner autonomy, among others. Ideally, the teacher crafts lessons that effectively utilize technology to achieve set learning goals. But in the real world, this is hard to attain. Teachers face a long list of challenges when implementing technology in the classroom, and here are some of their greatest hurdles.
Teachers are not digital experts
In the same way that a person can’t possibly know how to swim when thrown into a pool for the first time, teachers cannot be masters of technology right away. Older teachers didn't experience rapid technology developments growing up, so most of them just continue to use passe technology that they're accustomed to. Meanwhile, younger teachers may be more familiar with technology for entertainment or personal use, but they are not trained to employ such innovations for educational purposes.
Technology in an academic setting requires a specific set of competencies and standards distinct from mastery of content and pedagogy. In other words, a teacher should not only know what to teach (content) and how to teach (pedagogy), but also with what to teach (technology). To achieve this level of mastery, teachers must undergo formal technology training to be digital experts.
Not everyone in class is familiar with the technology
Teachers aren’t the only ones who struggle with technology. Some students are also not as fortunate as others to have access to certain technologies. Some may not even have Wi-Fi at home. These students pose a challenge to the teacher since their lack of knowledge or experience with technology can lead to unexpected class interruption and delays.
To illustrate, in a situation where the teacher asks the class to answer a web-based exam, a student unfamiliar with how online exams work will need some assistance. What happens when 10 students or more need help? Undoubtedly, some class time (and a lot of the teacher’s energy) will be spent helping the learners familiarize themselves with technology. In this way, technology can be a hindrance rather than an aid to learning.
Teachers prefer different technology than the one introduced
Often, teachers don’t have full control of what technology they can use in their classrooms. They may give their suggestions to the head of the school, but ultimately, the decision makers will make the final call, so teachers may end up having to use technology that doesn’t work for them. For example, schools may introduce a learning management system (LMS) and require all student worksheets to be delivered and submitted through the platform, but teachers still prefer to print the worksheets and grade them by hand.
To avoid such misalignment, all parties must be consulted first. Teachers should be able to use the technology they’re most comfortable with, given that it’s effective and not out of date.
There’s no adequate support or infrastructure
Setting up and implementing campus-wide technology is neither easy nor cheap, and some schools are forced to operate even with inadequate support or infrastructure. Unfortunately, these shortcomings can be felt at the classroom level.
For one, a school that opts for a low-tier internet plan due to budget limitations may experience subpar internet speeds and frequent downtime. These crawling speeds and disconnections can lead to class disruptions, especially in classes that rely on cloud-based applications.
Succinctly, if the technology itself is faulty, deploying it in the classroom can be a challenge even to the most experienced educational technology practitioner.
Teachers face manifold obstacles when using technology in the classroom, so they need all the help they can get. IT for Education offers a full range of IT services and expertise that will help teachers deliver technology-empowered lessons without interruptions. We can make technology hassle-free for your school. Call us at 305-745-7889 or drop us a message today.