Monday, October 25, 2010

Barriers to effective use of technology

Recently I have been having problems with the laptop I use at work. I believe it is a lemon, if that is possible! Function buttons indiscrimately cease to function, volume/sound works intermittently, program updates freeze. The laptop was carefully checked for viruses etc. The best solution offered was to reformat the drive. Problems solved? No. Intermittent faults still occur.

This brings me to the reason for my spiel today. I wasted thirty valuable minutes of a fifty minute lesson, attempting to show a clip to students via said laptop on the IWB. NO SOUND! With assistance from tech, it appeared settings kept defaulting after being changed. Finally, although probably what should have happened in the first instance, shut down and reboot.

I refuse to abandon my use of technology and will continue to persevere (although always with other ideas as a backup). However, I can certainly understand how frustrating and insurmountable problems like these could be for teachers who are reluctant to incorporate ICT in the first place.

There has been considerable research conducted into the barriers, challenges and impediments associated with the effective use of technology in schools. (For example, Charp 1997; Deaney & Hennessy 2007; Honan 2008; Johnson 2003; Keengwe, Onchwari & Wachira 2008; Molnar 1997).

One particular barrier to be identified is that of reliability. Problems with unreliability of technology contribute to a lack of confidence in the ICT system in general. When teachers feel they can no longer trust that what has been planned for the lesson will work, they often opt not to use new technologies in their classroom practice. The overarching belief is that with such a crowded curriculum, they simply cannot afford to lose valuable teaching/learning time. Monahan (2008, p. 90) discusses the behind the scenes disruption that occurs as a result, asserting that ‘students, teachers, and staff members at school sites are intimately familiar with and, by now, somewhat desensitised to technological disruptions in their everyday lives.’ 

 I'm not sure if I would completely agree with this statement. 'Familiar with' technological disruption - definitely. 'Desensitised'? No!

Charp, S 1997, 'Some reflections. (the 30-year history of computers in education).', T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), vol. 24, no. 11, pp. 8-11.

Deaney, R & Hennessy, S 2007, 'Sustainability, evolution and dissemination of information and communication technology-supported classroom practice', Research Papers in Education, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 65-94.

Honan, E 2008, 'Barriers to teachers using digital texts in literacy classrooms', Literacy, vol. 42, no. 1, pp. 36-43.

Johnson, JM 2003, 'From Lofty Beginnings to the Age of Accountability:A look at the past 30 years of educational software. ', Learning and Leading with Technology, vol. 30, no. 7, pp. 6-13.

Keengwe, J, Onchwari, G & Wachira, P 2008, 'Computer Technology Integration and Student Learning: Barriers and Promise', Journal of Science Education & Technology, vol. 17, no. 6, pp. 560-5.

Molnar, AS 1997, 'Computers in education: a brief history.', T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), vol. 24, no. 11, pp. 63-9.

Monahan, T 2008, 'Picturing technological change: the materiality of information infrastructures in public education', Technology, Pedagogy & Education, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 89-101.

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