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Issues and Barriers to Integrating Technology

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  • Hardware/Software- Often the most common factor deterring teachers from integrating technology into the classroom is the lack of hardware and software necessary to make true technology integration attainable. Many classrooms suffer from few computers, slow computers, limited internet connectivity, broken hardware, or incorrect software. A lack of appropriate hardware and software makes technology integration extremely difficult, but still doable. Strategies outlined in the sections below will hopefully generate ideas for activities that can be utilized in a classroom even with limited hardware and software.
  • Economics- To sucessfully incorporate beneficial technology requires a large amount of money. Money to purchase the newest and most up to date computers, the latest hardware/software, and on-site specialist to train personnel and keep computers working are limited.
  • Professional Development- Another large problem with technology integration is the lack of professional development directed towards integrating technology into the classroom. Most teachers recognize the benefits of technology integration, but are unequipped to present instructional information via technology to their classes.
  • Construction Time- To successfully incorporate beneficial technology requires a large amount of time for production and preparation. A webquest, for example, may take several hours for even an experienced teacher to program, identify links, and upload to the internet. Often, even installing and setting up software is tedious and time consuming, leading many teachers to avoid technology integration completely.
  • Limited Familiarity- Depending on the age of your students and how accessible computers are in their lives, limited familiarity with technology amongst students could be a major stumbling block in technology integration. It is difficult to provide instruction using computers when students have low familiarity with basic applications like using a mouse, saving a file, etc.
  • Time in Curriculum to Add Technology- Curriculum guides are so tight that it is hard to add anything, many assignments involving creativity have been cut out of curricula. Today's drive for time on task in the classroom limits the amount of time available to integrate new technology into existing programs.
  • Blogs and Discussion Boards- These are more effective to have students do from home, unless you are able to bring your students into the lab everyday. This is a unrealistic expectation for schools who have one or two small labs that are being utilized for large percentages of the day. Home bound technology assignments mean that some students, those who do not have access to the technology would be at a great disadvantage, and would be unable to complete required assignments.
  • Podcasts- Podcasts are a great way to have students do reports, however there are limits on what you are allowed to do with students if you want to post anything on the internet because of privacy and protection issues, as well as parental permission. Others types of tools that are affected by this are: blogs and pictures.
  • One to One Programs- With the rise of one-to-one programs and wireless laptops/tablets many of these problems listed above are resolved and new ones have arisen. Student familiarity becomes less of an issue and is compounded by "toy versus tool" issues.
  • Professional Training-Training students and teachers (even administrators) in the disciplines necessary for appropriate computer use becomes a primary responsibility of schools with ubiquitous computing. See http://www.aalf.org/Resources/Default.aspx for more resources.
  • Internet Safety- Training students to be aware of the safety issues of the internet world would be necessary. Cyber bullies, pedophiles, scams, and identify theft are major issues when introducing students to the web.
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