Research all of your options before you suggest new technology. Many times, technology is purchased and placed in classrooms without including teachers in the decision. Often purchases are determined by the technology department and a small committee that sees the need to spend allocated money and assumes a one size fits all situation. One suggestion is to research various new technologies submit a selection to teachers and obtain feedback on which technology the individual teacher would find beneficial to their classroom and student population. While this may take time and resources to complete it is much more efficient than assigning a new and wonderful technology device or software package only to find it unused or shelved in a closet collecting dust.
Give teachers a reason to want to use it. Let’s face it, teachers are overwhelmed with all they must do. There are reports to read, modifications to address, sick students, truancy issues, and state testing demands to consider. The last thing any teacher wants to do is figure out what to do with technology that seems awkward and disconnected to their teaching needs. Trust me, if the technology makes life easier for the teacher, they will be interested in using it.
According to ERIC research findings (2017) teachers' proficiency of technology equipment, experience with technology in education, and technology training significantly impacts the integration of technology into the school's curriculum. What I have noticed during the time I spent working in my district technology department and then later as a teacher was that there was a vast range of expertise in using technology and an even bigger range when it came to the teacher’s understanding the use of technology in the classroom.
For example, when the first huge surge of classroom technology hit the classroom around 1995 most teachers struggled with how to use computers. There was a huge need for training in the basics of computer use and we were all in it together. Now, the new generation of teachers are digital natives. The use of technology is not a mystery, however; incorporating it seamlessly into a classroom lesson is a struggle for many teachers young and old alike.
Districts struggle with many issues when it comes to professional development opportunities for teachers. They, like classroom teachers, have so much on their plate to address it seems impossible to meet the instructional technology training needs of teachers when there are testing scores, data, and school funding issues to address. So, what’s a district to do?
There is no simple answer. Many districts have a dedicated position for training, but those professionals are often focused on packaged software the district has purchased such as Edgenuity or Accelerated Reader. While professional development in these areas is beneficial it still leaves a large portion of teachers without the skills, they need to take advantage of the instructional technology available to them in their classrooms.