Addressing Teachers’ Concerns: Education Technology Integration

300x179xTop-Teacher-Concerns-300x179.jpg.pagespeed.ic.vuI406TjH-Education technology is an exciting practice and process that’s frothing with invention, debate, and revision through trial and error.


The recursive nature of ed-tech arguments and open dialogues—ranging from implementation challenges to understanding how kids and adults relate to instructional technology—leaves anyone involved in education feeling both frustrated and inspired at the same time. 


Carefully researching and planning the incorporation of new education technology solutions into classrooms, or school districts at large, is a daunting challenge. The enormous impact these decisions have on curricula and student learning manifests in an assortment of teacher concerns.


Addressing Teachers’ Concerns


Social and political debate aside—teachers’ reactions to education technology range from passionate optimism to trepidation to pure resistance. 


Here’s just a small list of concerns teachers grapple with every day:


  • There is a discourse and collaboration gap between edtech innovators and researchers


  • In a market overflowing with products it’s hard for teachers and administrators to know which platforms or tools are engaging and effective


  • Entrepreneurs don’t always work closely with teachers and students (more honest and meaningful dialogues are needed)


  • Teachers want more flexibility with respect to selecting resources for their classrooms


  • It’s difficult to find tools that cover a wide range of digital instruction needs (particularly when it comes to assessments, personalized learning, and Common Core alignment)


Edtech Open Dialogues


At a recent SF Edtech Meetup entitled “How Blended Learning Leaders Choose What to Use,” Michele Dawson (Supervisor of EdTech at the SFUSD) put the vendor-vetting process in context:


“I will have vendors show up and just sit at my desk. But that doesn’t work. Know our pain points. We know what our pain points are. We have identified three of our pain points: we need collaborative tools, a video-streaming company…The same for credit recovery.”


This frustration stems from the fact that most vendors simply aren’t making an effort to understand individual districts’ needs. 


Thomas Arnett, in “Addressing Teachers’ Concerns about Online Learning,” outlined three distinct concerns: the need for a detailed plan for using new technology (rather than blindly making purchases in hopes that issues will workout over time); notions that technology will replace teachers rather than augment their classroom; and the lack of teachers’ professional judgment in “low-quality” blended learning environments. Here’s how he put the first concern:


“For technology to have a truly transformative impact on education, we need to use it to rethink our instructional models (link to hybrid paper). Schools realize the true power of educational technology when they use it to transform their instructional model to offer personalized, competency-based instruction. This kind of transformation starts by creating a plan to address specific educational goals and then finding ways to leverage technology to meet those goals, rather than starting with devices and software and then trying to figure out what to do with them.”


*For more insight into what teachers need form digital instruction tools, see the six teacher-outlined needs in “Teachers Know Best: What Educators Want from Digital Instructor Tools.”


We’d Love to Hear Teacher Voices 


There’s still so much to say—but it’s time to listen to what else teachers and administrators have on their minds.


We’d like to invite anyone involved in education to share their opinions, ideas, and knowledge concerning edtech integration. Cover anything you want–from assessments to effectiveness to budget issues.


How do you see technology having a transformative impact on education? How do we get there?

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