Why does ICT in the hands of teachers sometimes fail?

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011 | technology

Technology can be a valuable tool in the hands of teachers.  Sadly, at times it does not result in improved teaching and learning, leading some to conclude that technology “does not work” and, to use a cliché, the baby is then thrown out with the bathwater.

Don’t be too quick to judge technology if it does not yield the expected results in a particular classroom or school.  Bear the following facts in mind:

ICT is not a magic wand – its presence alone in a classroom is no guarantee that a teacher will miraculously become a good one.

One of the biggest – and most serious – problems encountered with ICT in education is under-utilization by teachers.  This is not a technology failure, but a human (and often a systemic) failure.

Technology can empower teachers but it is only a tool; true empowerment depends on how this tool is used.  It may take time for teachers to become skillful users of technology.

Vast as the potential is, ICT can only transform education if teachers are willing to tap into it!  You may have a huge water reservoir, but if you are not prepared to tip your bucket into it to draw water you can’t expect to quench your thirst.

Metathesiophibia – a fear of change – leads to stagnation; teachers can’t afford this when it comes to using ICT in school.

When you see a classroom where avaialble technology has not yet brought about a change for the better, consider carefully where the problem lies: with the technololgy, the teacher or the system.  Then put appropriate processes in place to remedy the matter.

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2 Comments to Why does ICT in the hands of teachers sometimes fail?

Albie
Wednesday, 26 October, 2011

To add to this notion of “failure” re technology in the classroom is that some / many educators see / view and experience ICT as a “threat” and not as a “thread” to the curriculum. They still feel comfortable with the “older” types of classroom equipment – talk and chalk + OHP and the red pen, but once the ICT Metathesiophibia (as mentioned above) has faded, the results in LITNUM will be noticed !!!

Albie the Treat

Mark C
Thursday, 27 October, 2011

The system: School is too much of a high pressured, red-taped, procedural, administrative-driven, political (staffroom and departmental) environment for proper innovation to take place. This is what scares the hell out of me returning to teach formally again. As for using ICT, you can just imagine.
The teacher: If the chalk-and-talk as well as photocopies work, why bother with the rest? Yet there are better things out there to learn from. The traditional processes of learning together with the more modern ways will stand the person in good stead. Fortunately ICT-use works like driving a car. Eventually you do things without thinking.
The technology: It must just work. When sharing tech problems, you will find that somebody else will know. If not, call the techies. I still think that having a dedicated person at schools will help tremendously. Having attended an edtechconf I must say that many of the educators there who are tech-savvy still refer to their on-hand tech staff to help them when something does not work. This is what disadvantaged schools don’t have. In this case I think the WCED must come to the party as to how they will assist schools to keep equipment working. Lots of the equipment in schools are old now.

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