Barriers Of Implementing Technology In Education
Over the past fifty years or so, teachers and parents have read and heard forecasts of an impending educational revolution each time a new technological innovation arrived on the scene. Fifty years ago, radio broadcasting was suppose to revolutionize education. Soon thereafter, teaching machines were predicted to bring sweeping changes.
Next, television was touted as the medium that would solve problems facing education. Now, the computer is being hailed as the next technological innovation to have a major impact on the educational process.
Modern education, in fact, has sustained a long-term interest in the use of educational technology as a means to design more efficient learning opportunities for students.
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There are tools on how to use the new electronic technologies and this includes: skills software; computer graphics; word processors; telecommunications; simulations; multimedia/hypermedia; virtual reality and distributed learning.. In a field with such a wide range of powerful and complex tools, experts cannot help but disagree about what teachers need to know and even where they should begin.
Not long ago, many experts advised teachers who wanted to become capable computer users learn to write computer programs in languages such as FORTRAN and BASIC. To become computer literate, many assumed that teachers needed to know enough about the technical workings of computers to follow. Few people today believe that teachers need this much technical skill, but textbooks still provide wide varieties of information for beginning technology users. The following steps are needed to take by the beginning technology users: • Develop a philosophy.
Teachers must observe where current resources and types of applications fit in the history of the field. Then they must begin developing personal perspectives on the current and future role of technology in education and in their own classrooms. • Purchase products. Teachers must become informed, knowledgeable consumers of computer products and select wisely among available alternatives. • Identify the problems. Teachers must be able to troubleshoot computer systems they use frequently in order to discriminate between problems they can correct and those that will require outside help.
• Speak the language. Sufficient understanding of the terms and concepts related to technology allows users to exchange information with other teachers and experts and to ask and answer questions to expand their knowledge. • See where technology fits in education. In perhaps the most important- and the most difficult- challenge, teachers must identify specific school activities where technology can help to improve existing conditions or to create important educational opportunities that did not exist without it. As part of this process, teachers decide what they need to make these changes occur.
This process of determining where and how technology fits is known among users of educational technology as integration. Successful integration requires a connection between how people learn and how teachers employ technology to assist and enhance this learning. DISCUSSION Computer networks offer a significant opportunity for improving the educational climate, especially in situation calling for teaching at a distance in settings which are either primarily educational or primarily business oriented. Computer-based education networks are characterized by a large-scale central computer connected by a communication link to remote terminals.
Students work at the remote terminals either individually or in groups. The major advantage of computer-based systems to the student is the potential for individualizing instruction.. Student progress can be continuously evaluated and the student can be assigned to appropriate learning activities. Individualization of instruction is possible because of the one-to-one interaction between the educational system and the student. As far as the student is concerned, this is a confidential interaction between himself or herself and the system.
The fact that the student is one of many persons using the system at the same time, and the fact that a record is often made of the students’ progress, do not seem to detract from the feeling of individuality and confidentiality on the part of the student. The significant problem for many students in using computer-based system, especially adults, is the typing ability required for the use of the system. The need for typing can be minimized by the use of programming techniques that limit the complexity of responses. System malfunctions are another disadvantage of computing networks and are very frustrating to the individual student.
Malfunctions can occur either in the computing itself or in the communication links between the computer and the terminal. While the geographic and time-scheduling of computer-based systems can be an advantage, it can also be a limitation. The terminals themselves and communication links are expensive. At present they cannot be universally located throughout the world. The distribution of other educational materials, such as books, can be accomplished with considerably more ease. Information technology (IT) can be a very effective distance learning medium.
The IT package consisted of word processing, spreadsheet and communications software (via Telecom Gold) and a personal computer. IT is an interesting teacher. It can make learning easier and more attractive; for example, a resource for learning about animals could include written information about their habitat, and pictures of it. There could be video clips showing the animal running, accompanied by animated diagrams of the operation of their skeletal structure and muscles. IT is also a patient and responsive teacher. Software does not tire of waiting for a response.
Computer Aided Learning software can give pupils immediate feedback. Pupils are rewarded as they make incremental progress. This can be particularly helpful where pupils have learning difficulties. Rewards can be structured so that pupils are motivated to learn. IT is pupil centered. Unlike traditional didactic teching, strategies for teaching IT will emphasize pupil centered, resource-based learning. This helps IT teachers with the particularly exaggerated problems they have in planning and controlling continuity, progression, differentiation, and breadth and depth of learning.
After citing some of the benefits derived from using IT, what therefore, has inhibited a greater use of IT in management education? One reason may be a paucity of good quality educational material for use with computers. Another reason may be a lack of incentive or a resistance to change. Economic reason is also a possibility. Until very recently the use of IT as an instrument for individual learning has been prohibitively expensive. However, the reduced purchase price of the microcomputer has helped lower that barrier. Many teachers are busy with their daily routines and can find any excuse when asked to add something new.
“Why change what is working? ” Many teachers find that it is easier to maintain the status quo: staying with what has been comfortable. Some teachers are afraid of taking any risk and exposing themselves as lacking skills, especially in front of their students. According to Rick Maurer, this fear of change can be categorized into three levels of resistance. Level One: “Resistance to any use of technology. ” These teachers do not understand what the administration is trying to accomplish, or doubt if the school realizes how much technology will cost in time or money.
They have their own ideas about what the school should do-they like the status quo, and believe the timing is wrong. Their main concern may just be fear of letting others know what they don’t know. Level Two: “Deeper than the use of technology. ” These teachers believe the administration has made promises before which they did not keep. They are afraid that technology use is really the start of something deeper and fear if they do not use technology, they will no longer be included as “in. ” Actually, many of these teachers may be worn out by taking on so many changes all at once and may not be completely opposed to using technology.
Level Three: “Deeply embedded resistance. ” These teachers may have developed deeply entrenched distrust over many years. They fight anything the administration is supporting because values differ from what teachers want and what administration is proposing. Teachers need a great deal of motivation when it comes to implementing technology in the classroom (Gahala, 2001). There are many obstacles to overcome. Technology can be very intimidating for many teachers “because introducing technology almost always requires new learning” (Dyrli & Kinnaman, 1994).
“Teachers may lack the time and the motivation to learn technology skills . The integration of technology into the curriculum will not succeed without giving teachers ample time to practice, explore, conceptualize, and collaborate” (Gahala, 2001). This can be done by inviting them to join the school technology planning committee. “Solicit teachers’ participation on the technology planning committee and explain why their participation is important” (Conner, 2002). Another barrier to consider is the cost of technology to be implemented.
Computer-based systems are more expensive to set-up. Hardware and softwares must be purchased and staff must be re-trained or recruited. Some disturbance and expense can be expected due to the need for the installation of additional electrical power circuits and computer network cabling and redecoration in parts of the school. Besides the high initial cost, the primary problem with investing in technology is the changing pattern of technology usage along with revisions in the associated definition of “adequate resources”.
Maintenance and security for existing resources also became important cost issues. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, new directions in technology use replaced the emphasis on microcomputers with the trend toward multimedia and integrated learning systems. Schools now face a dual challenge that seems likely to remain the only constant amid changing educational technology. Monetary costs associated with the implementation of computer-based technology system includes : 1) Capital cost of computer and network hardware and software; 2) Installation cost, including classroom and laboratory renovation.
; 3) Hardware and software upgrades; 4) Support personnel for hardware and software installation, repair, and maintenance; 5) Support personnel and facilities for training and support of users (instructors and students). Obsolete computers are replaced with more powerful computers, which include more sophisticated peripherals and network connections. These computers, software, and the associated infrastructure require a greater level of training to use and maintain. Public school systems in the U. S. are currently spending $4,100,000,000 on hardware and software .
A detailed study of K-12 education estimates that a reasonable target spending for technology should be approximately $300/student, compared to $70/student now being spent . A 1996 forecast predicts spending on educational technology by K-12 and higher education to rise from $6×109 to $14×109 by the year 2000 . As a specific example in higher education, Virginia Tech, which has 25,000 total students, is spending $10-million over four years in an Instructional Development Initiative for classroom and faculty infrastructure.
Computer projection equipment is being installed in classrooms, and approximately 1500 faculty members are receiving information technology training and a computer. Once all faculty members complete the course, another 4-year cycle will begin. The dollar amount of this initiative does not include money spent by individual colleges, departments, and research groups for information technology for educational use. Oberlin quotes a total expenditure of $40-million on information technology for a Research-I university of 25,000 students .
This figure translates to $1,600 per student per year, and does not include the money spent by individual students who can afford their own personal computers, peripherals, and software. Whether purchased with government support, tuition, student fees, or personal funds, the use of information technology is increasing the cost of education. Moreover, other problems may arise during the implementation of technology and these include the following: 1) Methods of working are distorted to fit the requirements of the software used.
If the software is not sufficiently flexible so that it can be changed to support current or proposed methods of working then these may have to be adjusted to match the requirements of the software. 2) Bringing new IT-based systems into use can be time-consuming, as it is prudent to continue with both the old system and the new system until it is clear that the new system is working effectively. 3) Software may not do what is required of it. This may happen when the software does not work as it should or because new demands are made for additional facilities that the software is not designed to supply.
CONCLUSION/RECOMMENDATION: Nowadays, technology is rapidly moving and we cannot help but to cope with the advancement. It is true that using technology in education is very expensive and time consuming but it was worth the cost. Unfortunately, lack of global long-range planning often amounts to wasted efforts and excessive costs. For an innovation to be successful, teachers need to learn new skills and they may need to unlearn beliefs about students or instruction that have dominated their professional careers (Darling, Hammond & McLaughlin, 1996).
Thus teacher professional development is at the heart of sustaining an innovation. Student support and enthusiasm for the local innovation also played an important role in motivating teachers to continue to carry out and improve the innovation. Teachers want to do what is best for students to enhance their learning. If they believe that students are benefiting from a particular innovation, they in turn will be willing to devote additional time and effort required to maximize the advantage brought on by the innovation.
Likewise, educators must resolve many complex issues in order to apply technology solutions to educational problems. They must address many concerns before and during implementation to ensure that technology will have the desired effects on students and schools. These concerns range from funding to selection and placement of technology resources. The author believes that regardless of the downfall of technology, computer-based system of education must go on to continuously improve learning. REFERENCES: 1. Conner, D. (2002, April 12). Technology planning: Closing the communications gap Education World.
Retrieved March 19, 2004, from http://www. educationworld. com/a_tech/tech152. shtml 2. Crawford, R. (1997). Managing information technology. London: Roulledge. pp. 131-135. 3. Dyrli, O. E. , and Kinnaman, D. E. (1994, January). Gaining access to technology: First step in making a difference for your students. Technology and Learning, pp 16-50. 4. Crawford, R. (1997). Managing information technology. London: Roulledge. pp. 131-135. 5. Gahala, J. (2001, October). Critical issue: Promoting technology use in schools. Retrieved March 29, 2004, from http://www. ncrel.
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