Based on your narrated slideshow, upload to Dropbox a 3500-word essay that critically analyzes an issue in one of the jobs of the Educational Technologist.
Challenges in Education Technology
For a long time, digital technology has been heralded as the key to innovative, better teaching and learning. Despite considerable funding and policy changes on the local, national, and international levels, there hasn’t been much of a shift in the core procedures or outcomes of education. For example, school-based efforts have boosted the availability of interactive whiteboards (IWBs) in classrooms during the past ten years, while programs at the federal and state levels, such as the “Digital Education Revolution” have increased the popularity of one-to-one laptops and tablet programs. Despite the growth of these and other technological projects in schools, neither instruction nor student learning has greatly improved.
Children and teenagers must be able to do this to investigate, analyze, and grasp the dynamic and complex worlds of digital technologies and the data they mediate (Aninkan, 2018). Young people mostly utilize digital devices for social networking and simple web searches. We must purposefully employ digital technology in the classroom if we want pupils to comprehend how to use it. The study finds that rather than changing the technology itself, teachers’ usage of digital tools must be enhanced since it directly affects students’ learning.
The results show that teachers must be ready to try out different learning objectives and classroom dynamics if they wish to improve education. Using this method of inquiry, teachers may begin to identify which digital tools can support the learning they want to see in their students. Before getting started, it’s crucial to consider how schools and teachers have changed through time, the factors that affect and mediate teacher transformation, and if teaching and educational institutions will undergo further change.
An overview of how technology and change are affecting education
Education professionals must educate their students for academic work and jobs in the booming global digital economy. Many specialists now employ methods that were previously ineffective. Although it is occasionally believed that teachers are running behind schedule in this area, teaching methods have drastically altered. These technologies may have an impact on educational policy and instructional practice through novel uses of student and school data. Teachers who participate in online professional development communicate with colleagues both inside and outside of their institutions. Students now have access to a greater variety of experiences and more teacher feedback as a result of the growth of their peer networks and communities of practice (Aninkan, 2018). The only remaining routes for instructors and students to communicate nowadays are learning management systems and specialized social networking sites for educators. Teachers are now able to comment on students’ work since they are generating tests and finishing assignments in more creative ways. Many of these adjustments were made, like with any organization, to boost instructors’ output and accountability for their work. Although crucial, administrative duties, curriculum preparation, and professional development for teachers may not alone qualify as “teaching and learning” activities.
A significant portion of the population thinks that new technologies will fundamentally enhance teaching and learning and that digital technology will entirely reshape the educational system. Despite being readily available and promoted in schools, technology was only sometimes and sparingly used in the classroom. Additionally, this use wasn’t done with the aim of teaching or being taught as part of the curriculum; rather, it was commonly done in the afternoons to offer students a respite from the regular class activities. Cuban emphasizes that there is no proof that watching TV while studying is much more helpful than other training techniques.
Foreign governments, meanwhile, have increased their spending on educational technology since 1990, greatly enhancing student access to it. The usage of digital technology expanded as one-to-one device programs were established, but teaching and learning typically remained mostly unchanged. As more kids get access to computers, iPads, and the Internet, it is projected that they will switch from being passive information consumers to being active producers of new knowledge and insight. This will usher in a brand-new revolution. SCMs, or student-centered methods, are widely recognized as the most efficient approaches for incorporating digital resources into the classroom. Using interactive whiteboards is one approach to incorporating digital technology into the classroom without drastically changing how things are done. Teachers occasionally “transfer” knowledge to students in a similar way to how they would with a traditional chalkboard, even though they may instruct students using an interactive whiteboard. Books and webpages can be annotated by teachers, but this isn’t all that different from the way they used to annotate books, overhead projector transparencies, or photocopies in the past. This illustration demonstrates how, rather than altering their standard practices, most teachers have integrated technology into their lessons. Even though they are a small percentage, some teachers have highly creative and unique uses for digital resources.
The fundamental argument is that the predicted educational revolution hasn’t happened despite massive government investment in digital technologies. Teachers have frequently been held responsible for this issue. It has been said of teachers that they are risk-averse, scared of technology, and Luddites. Teachers were blamed for the educational system’s failure, and digital technology was seen as the way of the future.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that greater assistance, such as opportunities for professional development, is required to support teachers in making changes. However, there are additional problems that could also play a role in the depressive symptoms of failure. Understanding the assistance teachers need to adapt their practices is one of these difficulties.
Concept of Change
Since students will be required to engage with numerous digital technologies and change throughout their lives, teachers need to be aware of educational transformation. Usually, when we consider change, we see something evolving into something new. “Educational reform” or “educational transformation” are terms that are occasionally used to describe changing public education. It is impossible to say if educational reform initiatives have increased much over the past few decades, but it is reasonable to assume that continual attempts to “fix” teaching and learning have been made. One type of educational reform is the use of digital technology in the classroom. Additionally, there is a lot of focus on raising the academic performance and reading and math skills of disadvantaged students. One of the most recent, major changes is the rising prominence of standardized testing and student accountability on a global basis.
Throughout the 1990s, education gave more consideration to creating curriculum and standards that were carefully controlled, which resulted in a rise in high-stakes testing to determine if students had met the criteria. He points out that financial choices nowadays are dependent on how well schools as a whole did on examinations. Schools and teachers are under a lot of pressure to do well on these tests. Other times, students spend less time on activities or courses that aren’t directly related to the test because of the emphasis on testing. This establishes the academic framework necessary to begin analyzing how individuals utilize digital technology and understand shifts in instructional strategies.
Schools and Change
The amount of money spent on technology in schools throughout the world has increased more than one hundredfold during the last 20 years. As a result of the investment, digital technology including laptops, PCs, and tablets is widely available in schools. As a result, these technologies are used in teaching more frequently. In schools, a variety of digital gadgets are regularly utilized. The main objective of these technologies has been to imitate contemporary teaching and learning approaches. Additionally, it has been shown that technology is not routinely used in ways that inspire kids to explore, find solutions to issues, create, and interact.
Three key factors
It has been shown that leadership, a shared collective vision, and technical and instructional assistance have a major impact on teachers’ use of digital technology and improvements to teaching and learning. The school’s principal is related to the first component, leadership. A principal’s attention in that area, according to research, had the greatest impact on teachers’ use of digital technology and the ensuing student-centered pedagogy. Having a clear vision for how digital technologies will be applied, such as how students will participate in the critical study of texts in each subject area, is a crucial part of this. The second crucial element is including educators in the development of this vision. Teachers are more likely to feel involved in technology usage and transformation if they help create a “shared vision” that promotes a culture of change in the classroom. Change becomes a typical project.
The plan would also include the third part of the process, which is the provision of the support systems required for change to take place. These include incorporating student-centered methodologies, providing pedagogical support for creating and experimenting with the use of technology in the classroom, and providing technical assistance for understanding and utilizing digital technologies. According to the institution, these three factors emphasize the necessity to embrace change and new technologies.
The great majority, if not all, of technology-based school reform projects, have consistently omitted all three of these elements. This typically happens by accident as a result of competing initiatives to improve education, a lack of funds, and the failure of numerous programs. For instance, as was already said, schools have been under a lot of pressure to do well on standardized tests.
Reading and math skills, sometimes known as literacy and numeracy, are typically given a lot of weight in these tests. Although a principal may be in favor of using technology in the classroom, they could also prefer to see teachers spend more time on literacy activities and targeted reading programs than on developing lesson plans that make greater use of technology.
Another issue is that a principal might not be familiar with how to employ digital tools in various teaching situations, so they leave that decision up to the teachers. This gives educators the chance to create their own mutually agreeable vision, but more often than not, it inspires them to take activities they are confident will consistently advance the academic progress of their pupils. Teachers must explore how children learn and how schools might assist that process since they are the main advocates for educational reform.
Teachers and Change
It is totally up to the instructor how technology is utilized in the classroom. The employment of digital technology and student-centered practices, in the opinion of educational technologists, is more likely to enhance learning outcomes and student achievement. It is not always obvious whose techniques or digital tools are to blame for these results, though. How teachers employ digital technologies in the classroom has been substantially affected by this ambiguity.
Many instructors won’t use digital technologies in the classroom, but others presumably will. Those that do will employ technology in the classroom in several different ways. The following three aspects are the main determinants of whether teachers choose to integrate. The primary factor is school culture (Brown et al. 2021). The next two, which are unique to the instructor, are confidence and beliefs about how to use technology.
Increased educational reform has several effects, one of which is that teachers are losing interest in attempts to improve schools. In light of the three general school needs listed in the section above, the following factors may be taken into account: The first three contributing factors are a lack of leadership that prioritizes change, a lack of a common vision, and a lack of technical or educational support. If the change is not well managed and supported, teachers will think it is not valued and that the school does not prioritize it. It is essential to establish a connection between what educators value and what administrators value. If their peers and the institution share and support their opinions, teachers are more likely to favor and agree with the use of digital technology in teaching and learning. The same is true when employing student-centered teaching techniques. Teachers are less likely to include it in their lesson plans if the school doesn’t value it.
The instructors’ attitudes toward and training with technology, as well as their level of technical confidence, are the other two important aspects. In regards to the first concern, if instructors feel more comfortable using technology in the classroom, they are more inclined to do so. Experts contend that instructors’ comfort levels with using technology are the most crucial element. They feel at ease using digital technology and have faith in their ability to spot and fix problems that could be caused by faulty hardware or other technological concerns. Reluctant technology users, on the other hand, who are unsure of their capacity to use it correctly, are less inclined to utilize it in class. Many people worry that they won’t be able to handle technical obstacles when teaching. Fewer confidence teachers would see greater dangers and negative effects on students’ learning as a result of embracing digital technology than more confident teachers.
Beliefs about education and digital technology, which aren’t always related or the same thing, influence integration. If teachers feel that 1) they are pertinent to their particular area of teaching and learning, and 2) their use is consistent with those purposes, they are more inclined to employ digital tools in the classroom. We’ll spend a lot of time doing things that technology can do more quickly as a result (Brown et al. 2021). An effective illustration of this is the interactive whiteboard. Teachers are using a reliable and effective teaching strategy by instructing pupils with this technology. Since it’s easy to access a variety of extra multimedia content without going between a computer and a whiteboard, technology is convenient and helpful. According to research, educators who make use of digital tools choose to teach more student-centered strategies.
After examining a few crucial aspects of change in schools and with teachers, it is now possible to start looking at why educators could appear reluctant to accept change and digital technology, as well as what this represents for schools. It is crucial to take into account the dangers teachers confront when given more responsibility to do this (Cerimagic & Hasan, 2018). Less self-assured instructors may feel embarrassed if they experience difficulty using digital resources, such as when they don’t grasp computer issues, can’t access a file, or when online sites don’t load. Teachers may feel out of control and as though their professional competency is in jeopardy as a result of little issues like these. As students and coworkers get increasingly acclimated to using digital technology, some teachers may even feel humiliated about their lack of expertise with new tools or resources. Talking about problems in class for an extended period runs the danger of losing the kids’ attention and making them disruptive. Instructors probably think giving pupils time off would interfere with their capacity to study. Naturally, the use of digital technology may be supported or opposed by the same arguments.
The result of this is the second problem. Teachers are more inclined to use cutting-edge methods and digital tools if they support the learning objectives and goals. A range of digital tools supports contemporary methods of teaching and learning, even while their benefits are hazy or not materially larger than those of a non-digital approach. It could be challenging for some instructors to defend the time invested in studying digital technology, creating lesson plans, and resolving potential classroom issues if the value of the work or learning is questioned or not increased (Mousa et al. 2019). Additionally, if the organization does not support it and the usage restrictions are clear, instructors will be less inclined to take a chance, especially if they lack confidence. These concerns are made worse when teachers are under pressure to make sure students perform well on standardized examinations. If teachers feel threatened, they will tighten their restrictions and lose some of their flexibility. They’ll be less eager to experiment, try out new teaching methods, and adjust as a consequence.
But to change, one must take chances. Change may provide fewer risks to certain people than it does to others, who could perceive greater risks in the same circumstance. Studies show that teachers who are “open to change” are more likely to experiment with new ideas, incorporate technology into their courses, and believe that doing so would enhance students’ learning. Even while some technologists have linked taking chances and being adaptable to change as personal attributes, a sociological viewpoint has demonstrated that they may be encouraged at a cultural level to help individuals embrace change.
By encouraging an environment that is open to experimentation and change, schools may encourage risk-taking. There is a culture of change among instructors when they are willing to experiment with cutting-edge technologies, tactics, and teaching practices without being worried about negative consequences or fines (Cerimagic & Hasan, 2018). Given this, it doesn’t seem likely that implementing anything novel in a few classrooms will hurt how kids learn in general.
The management of the school should locate and remove any claimed threats to instruction and learning where it is practical to do so. They may do this by providing teachers with the pedagogical and technological support they need, as well as by incorporating them in talks about how technology will be used in the classroom and the school’s integration plan (Mousa et al. 2019). This support must include giving instructors the time they require to plan, collaborate, learn about new technology, and develop new curricula. Fears of failing, getting into trouble, and jeopardizing one’s career are lessened in this type of environment.
It is feasible to foster a culture of positive belief in and appreciation for the advantages of digital technology and change by offering assistance and developing a common integration vision. The reform process may involve the entire school community. There are two reasons why this is significant. It provides prompt assistance to educators who are wary of change or unhappy about it. Teachers who oppose the use of technology are more likely to agree with their colleagues’ opinions because they respect them.
When we consider how technology integration will develop in the future, one thing is certain: instructors will always be encouraged to experiment with state-of-the-art pedagogical strategies and technical resources (Diedericks et al. 2019). It’s crucial to understand that although some educators could be risk-averse and more prone to raising issues, others might be more adaptive. By keeping in mind that instructors’ concerns may have a strong base in professional competence, it is feasible to spot hazards to student learning or a lack of support to actively participate in experimentation and change strategies.
As we advance and think about how technological change is supported, the peer network and knowledge that teachers have access to are expanding. Even while teachers can now participate in broader online and hybrid communities of practice, school culture, and support are still very important. Teachers already have access to a variety of Internet resources for teaching and learning (Mousa et al. 2019). They participate more frequently in both unofficial collaborative groups on social networking sites and official online training. Instructors can take part in TeachMeets, a hybrid professional development strategy, for example. Local informal groups meet up to talk about best practices and briefly share their views. Another option for educators to communicate online is through social networking, sometimes known as the “backchannel.”
Eventually, to use new digital technologies to enhance learning, instructors will need to adapt and take risks. More than simply the time and effort of individual instructors are needed to advance change; it also needs the backing of higher education organizations and a flexible culture (Diedericks et al. 2019). Both are necessary for the educational revolution to be successful. Schools that use digital technology for teaching and learning must respond to the concerns and questions of their students while also assisting. When necessary, teachers should be open to experimenting with cutting-edge technologies and techniques. Instructors must first work together with their peers, organizations, and the greater teaching community to support the transition process.
Aninkan, D. O. (2018). Organizational change, change management, and resistance to change–an exploratory study. European Journal of Business and Management, 10(26), 109-117.
Brown, C., White, R., & Kelly, A. (2021). Teachers as educational change agents: what do we currently know? findings from a systematic review. Emerald Open Research, 3, 26.
Cerimagic, S., & Hasan, S. (2018). Changing medical education curriculum: challenges, preparation, and implementation of change. In Sustainable Ecological Engineering Design for Society, International (SEEDS) Conference (pp. 6-7).
Diedericks, J. C., Cilliers, F., & Bezuidenhout, A. (2019). Resistance to change, work engagement, and psychological capital of academics in an open distance learning work environment. SA Journal of Human Resource Management, 17(1), 1-14.
Mousa, M., Massoud, H. K., & Ayoubi, R. M. (2019). Organizational learning, authentic leadership and individual-level resistance to change: A study of Egyptian academics. Management Research: Journal of the Iberoamerican Academy of Management.