Resistors to Technology

Despite all of the proven benefits of utilizing technology in the classroom, there will still be those that will not be convinced to make use of it. Why? This page will address some of the arguments against the use of technology.

1.  Cost/Access

Yes, the investment into technology is not cheap, but it need not be extraordinarily costly as well. If there is a will there is a way. There is funding there for it. Do your homework, find out how much is available to you and make a determined pitch for that money. I have been part of that process and we continue to get the equipment we need because we use it, and can show how it benefited our students. Purchasing used or refurbished computers, donations, and whatever deals you can muster up. In the early stages of setting up our ESL Centre we made use of computers that other departments we getting rid of, I brought computers from home, friends, and acquired free computers from sites like Craigslist. If you want something badly enough you can get it. If you can’t get all you want at once (I don’t think that is realistic anyway), you can gradually build your technology resources each year. Cost should not be a hurdle.

Concerning the topic of student access to computers. Assuming that student access at home to be a problem, we just need to ensure that these students are given ample time to access computers at school (before the start of classes, at lunch or after school) or avoid assignments that need to be completed at home within one night. It is quite easy to limit specific online computer tasks to classroom time only. This also works from a student monitoring standpoint. Those students with computers at home might have the upper hand if they use it for extra practice and refinement of tasks, but those without will not be penalized.

 2.  Lack of Professional Development/Training

Teachers resistant to implementing technology take this stance (admittedly or not) because they lack the knowledge and confidence in using technology. It is difficult for them to deal with the fact that their students likely possess more knowledge, skills and confidence when using a particular type of technology than they do. Thus, they choose to maintain their more conventional ways of teaching. Pure ignorance and apathy should never be an excuse for not implementing technology. However, forcing a teacher to adopt technology in their classroom practice when they are not comfortable is surely a recipe for disaster.

Thankfully, this is something that can be rectified by providing these teachers with appropriate professional development opportunities, inservices, collaboration time with fellow teachers, and ample time to practice with the technology to gain competence and confidence. As pointed out elsewhere on this site, Marzano’s reseach shows that student success comes when teachers are trained, experienced, knowledgeable and confident with the technology.

Technology has the potential to assist teachers in meeting the literacy needs of diverse populations of students by contributing to learner-centered teaching approaches and transforming the role of the instructor from a direct deliverer of instruction to a facilitator of learning (Askov & Bixler, 1998). Complex views of literacy are currently emerging as people use new media to make meaning, express themselves, and communicate and work with others. As a result, various forms of information and communication technology (ICT) are redefining the nature of literacy (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004). The development of these new literacies have presented challenges for teacher educators as they prepare teachers to teach a wide range of literacy skills to culturally, linguistically, and academically diverse students. – an excerpt from Preparing Teachers to Integrate Technology for Literacy Instruction.

3. Technology is not the answer to cure all problems.

Very true, but this not a reason to ignore it either. We need to find ways to engage our students and since they are growing up in a digital world that is expanding every day, it only makes sense to tap into those interests and information/communication technology tools that students are familiar with. As stated elsewhere (Why use technology in the classroom?), we should not use technology all of the time but it surely has its place to enhance student learning.

Will technology replace books? Some say never but students are reading graphic novels online, newspapers are closing down all around the world due to the masses getting up to the second news online. Additionally, e-books and audio books are growing in popularity. What will things look like in 10 years? Will there even be actual paper textbooks or electronic ones for students to download? The point here is that technology is a huge part of our society and it is constantly changing. We need to be prepared for these changes and be ready to roll with it. If not we will not be able to properly address our student’s needs and become obsolete.

6 Steps to Success in Teaching with Technology
Confronting Technology in ESL:  So What’s a Poor ESL Teacher to Do?
Computer technology in the ESL/EFL writing classroom: Impacts on teachers

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