As schools realize the need for technology integration, most administrators and board members see the technology as a blanket solution to the problems in their classroom, school or district. This obviously leads to the potential for technology to be purchased and placed into individual teachers classrooms with little or no professional development. As Judi Harris notes, less than 40% of teachers use a computer with their students on a daily basis. With the lack of support from the administrators, this leads to teachers feeling discouraged, unmotivated and lost with their new tools.
When administrators throw technology at a problem, they often create an atmosphere of contempt amongst the faculty towards potential integration. Hew and Brush discuss this in their article where they cite a school in England that implemented a technology integration plan only to access free internet. This example is a dangerous pitfall, as I need to ensure that my devices would be accompanied with the proper administrative backing. I do not believe this would be an issue, as I would be the main coordinator with my faculty members when we expanded the technology to other teachers in my building.
Another potential obstacle is the lack of funding to continue these professional developments and to provide the necessary support to these educators. These two problems are closely connected, but both also can derail the attempt to integrate technology in the classroom, and lead to large amounts of money wasted on technology that sits in the corner of a room. Large school districts, such as the Chicago Public Schools, face constant budget battles and shortcomings, such as the several hundred million dollars that CPS will lose from its budget next year. This presents a question. How can I ensure my technology and the teacher’s ability to stay updated, when the funds available to support this are not guaranteed?
This is why my proposal is for the devices made by Apple, as I believe they will be the easiest to maintain without the guarantee for funds to always be accessible. As I stated previously, the Apple machines are very easy to use, and are a platform that most teachers and students have at least some familiarity with. As for the software, the updates are very expansive and will usually cost nothing. This will allow the devices to continue to serve the needs of the students and the faculty for longer than other services, and will only need minor replacements and money for potential training. As for the lack of resources in a school for professional development and technical support, Hew and Brush offer a solution. Positions could be created to allow for students to work as technical support, which would provide not only the support needed for the staff, but also valuable experience for students.
These issues are present in many districts and schools that are attempting to integrate technology. The most important step in ensuring they do not derail the integration efforts is to acknowledge their existence and work towards avoiding them. This can be done by increased communication, between not only teachers and administration, but also students, parents and industry leaders. With these channels remaining open and used, the ability to properly integrate technology into the content and infuse it with teacher pedagogy will improve.