While many people who work in the field of education realize that there are a great many benefits to incorporating edtech (education technology) into the classroom curriculum, edtech does not always play as big of a role in the classroom environment as you may think. A few weeks ago, we published an article that explored some common reasons that edtech is not used or underused in the classroom in an article called EdTech Barriers.
As we already stated, educators seem open to the idea of using edtech, as shown by the results of a recent survey:
86% of teachers think it is ‘important’ or ‘absolutely essential’ to use edtech in the classroom
96% say that edtech increases student engagement in learning
95% say that it enables personalized learning
89% say that it improves student outcomes
87% say that it helps students collaborate
So how do we address the three most common barriers to edtech implementation: funding, access, and time?
Lack of financial resources is almost always the number one barrier to edtech usage in the classroom. Devices, infrastructure, and ongoing maintenance all cost money that some schools and school districts simply don’t have. Alternative sources of funding for edtech projects may have to be used. Determined teachers may seek out and apply for grants that fund the edtech projects they design. Another way teachers find financial support for their edtech ideas is through the relatively new crowd source funding websites such as Donors Choose. Sites like this allow teachers to describe their project and potential donors may choose to contribute funds to their idea. Teachers can spread the word by posting their project to social media sites or by emailing their friends and supporters.
When we talk about access being a barrier, we are referring to the school site itself being equipped to support various edtech functions with Internet access and other network infrastructure. If a school site has no or an outdated edtech support infrastructure, teachers should express their desire to have these things in place and be prepared to demonstrate the value of this investment to decision makers. Teachers may also look for creative ways to work around access issues by looking for projects and applications to use in their classrooms that don’t require Internet access or other complex network support.
The final edtech barrier that presents challenges to teachers using edtech in the classroom is the limitation of time. Just like anyone else, a teacher’s time is limited. Implementing an edtech project in the classroom will take time researching, planning and maintaining. While spending nights and weekends working on these things may be an option for some, it is not optimal. Teachers should look for time in their workday where they may redirect some other assigned duty to edtech development. Some examples may be professional development time, required planning periods or faculty and staff meetings. Teachers may even approach their administration about replacing some of their duties, if even on a temporary basis, with edtech development duties. The time and energy one teacher puts into edtech development could possibly benefit the entire school.
If you are a teacher who has found a creative and innovative way to overcome some of the barriers that you face in implementing edtech projects in the classroom, we would love to hear from you! Please share your advice, experience, and ideas in a comment below!