The greatest challenge of technology in education – how can principals overcome it?

Friday, October 15th, 2010 | technology

The greatest challenge principals face when establishing technology in their schools is motivating the teaching staff.  Of course, if the principal does not support the use of technology in the school, the teachers will claim that the principal is the greatest challenge.  Principals, never let that happen!

Some school managers become despondent when valuable resources are used to provide technology facilities – computer labs or technology in classrooms – only to discover that teachers are reluctant to use them.  “You can take a horse to water but you can’t make it drink,” they may lament if their efforts are fruitless.

This is indeed a challenge!  But have you considered why horses don’t drink when taken to the water? (By the way, the analogy of horses is not altogether inappropriate in an education context – many educators are indeed industrious work horses.)

They may be too tired to drink.

The burden of administrative demands placed upon teachers by the bureaucracy often leaves them with little energy to try new things.  You have to create space on their busy schedules to allow time for training and experimentation.  You may even have to fight the bureaucracy to allocate time for this important activity.

They may not be thirsty.

It is only when teachers have a clear understanding of the reasons why they should involve themselves with technology that they willingly will become involved.  Understanding the “why” goes beyond simply learning to operate equipment and usually does not happen as a result of a few training sessions.

They may not have access.

Teachers become frustrated if they had been trained to use technology but then do not have the opportunity to practise their new skills.  This may happen if they do not have access to the computer room because the schedule is full.  You can’t blame a teacher for not using technology if you do not make room for them to do so.

Motivating the entire staff of a school to use technology is a huge challenge – you may not succeed with every individual.  Work with those who show some willingness and create an inviting environment for them to become involved.

For more tips for principles, click here.

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3 Comments to The greatest challenge of technology in education – how can principals overcome it?

[...] How can principals overcome the greatest challenge of technology … [...]

Heather Durnin
Saturday, 16 October, 2010

All reasons posted for not using tech in the classroom are correct in many cases. One missing reason? They might be afraid of not having all the answers. Standing and learning along side your students, rather than standing in front of them, takes some getting use to, and requires a different mindset.
We don’t need to know all the answers. Once you get started, students begin to work as a community, teaching each other, and the teacher. Encourage teachers to read blogs where educators share their experiences and learn with their kids. That’s how I got the courage to jump in. The students’ engagement and motivation was all I needed to keep going.

Patrick Larkin
Saturday, 16 October, 2010

Kobus – Great post. The thing I like most about it is the fact that it is such a balanced look at the role of both Principals and teachers. I think it is so important that each school community has a shared vision of how technology will be integrated to support learning.

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