Jumpstarting into technology integration is not always seamless. In the beginning, educators are experimenting with different mobile devices, and technology-based lessons, and strategies. There are three common technology integration barriers that surface during the initial implementation, which we believe are worth discussing.
Barrier One- Not Enough Technology to Go Around: Ideally, technology integrated classrooms make technology devices and software accessible to all students. For most schools, this is an impossible feat to attain due to limited tech resources. In spite of tech limitations, teachers still are required to make technology integration happen.
Most educators usually handle this by implementing a “Gradual Integration” plan or a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. The “Gradual Integration” plan informs teachers the types of technology integration that can be accomplished with their current resources in their classroom. As resources increase, teachers gradually introduce and apply new technologies in their instruction. Another possible strategy is to start BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program. BYOD allows students to use their personal tablets, Smartphones, and wearable-tech in the classroom. By doing either of these approaches, schools avert implementation obstacles and eliminate “the not enough technology” argument.
Barrier Two-The Rise of Digital Lecturing: Well-designed technology integration instruction allows students to use technology (e.g., computers, digital cameras, learning apps, mobile devices, and social media platforms) in daily classroom tasks and assignments. Initially, teachers are unsure how to design this type of learning environment; therefore, many revert to digital lecturing. This is when a teacher transmits factual information to a group of students using a PowerPoint, a Smart-board, or a podcast.
In most, digital lectures, students take notes and have little time to reflect, question or synthesize ideas. Digital lecturing is not “teaching” and does not provide students with the opportunity to use technology. To shift this practice, educators need to accept technology as an integral part of their curriculum and pedagogy. Activities built-in lessons should incorporate learning apps or software to help students develop a deeper understanding of a particular content or skill. When technology is seamlessly part of the learning process, instructors will notice an increase in student engagement and achievement.
Barrier Three-APPS Overload: There are millions of educational apps to choose from. Sometimes, finding the right app can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. After a while, app research can become a daunting task for any instructor.
To stop app overload, schools must put content curation into practice. Content curation consists of sifting through online information, app stores, and selecting the best digital tools for students and teachers. The apps are then placed in a central repository or an online resource library. Teachers and students can then connect to the app library via any mobile device and select the apps they would like to work with.
The journey to full technology integration is never-ending. New technologies are always emerging, which raise new implementation barriers. It is important that schools continue to find creative ways to remove these barriers in order to stay technology-centric.