Opposition to Technology Integration

An example in the workplace where I have experienced resistance to experimentation with using new technologies has centered on the development of online courses. My wife and I are huge proponents of finding ways incorporate online learning into the high school setting.

As online learners, we have experienced first-hand the benefits of online learning. Although we are both aware that online learning is not necessarily the smoking gun for improving education, it is apparent that online learning is here to stay and will probably be a part of most future learners’ educational experiences. With this in mind, we feel that it is important for high school students to begin having some experience with online learning as they prepare to enter college and/or the workforce. In addition, rural schools are in need of new, innovative ways to stay viable. With shrinking budgets, reduced staff, and fewer resources, online learning could serve as an avenue for providing rural students with access to relevant and essential coursework that they may otherwise not get.

At the beginning of the school year, we presented some of the work that we developed over the summer to begin introducing some components of online learning into our classes. We were not asking for others teachers to the same work, to any additional work, or to make any changes in their instructional practices at this time. We simply wanted to share what we were working on and to share the potential of online learning.

The reaction was very disheartening. Many of our colleagues showed little interest in what we were working on. Many of them left the meeting grumbling about having to do more work now to learn about new technology, to integrate new applications into their classes, or to live up to higher technological standards. The administration thanked us for our efforts but provided very little follow-up support. In the end, it felt like our effort to push the envelope (in really slight way compared to the progress and advances in other places around the world) was met with resistance and passive-aggressive attitudes. We felt very isolated in our efforts to bring about some positive changes in our school.

Keller’s ARCS model, as described by Driscoll (2005), could provide a route for helping to reverse the types of behaviors and attitudes that we encountered. “ARCS” stands for attention, relevance, confidence, and satisfaction. In the case of the situation that my wife and I experienced, I think that confidence was one of the main obstacles for our colleagues. Many of them lack confidence in their abilities to learn new technology and integrate them into the classroom. Therefore, one need that our staff has revolves around getting time and opportunities to develop their technology skills in order to boost their confidence and motivation to take some risks by trying new technology-based strategies in their classrooms. I feel that these types of opportunities would be an essential piece to helping our district move forward with regard to educational technology and to redefining what a rural school might look like in the future.

References

Driscoll, M. P. (2005). Psychology of learning for instruction (3rd ed.). Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

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About Mike Dillon

High School Math/Physics Teacher Online Instructor for Axia College Ph.D. Candidate at Walden University.
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6 Responses to Opposition to Technology Integration

  1. Laurie Korte says:

    Hi Mike,
    I am a Moodle addict who totally understands you and your wife’s struggle. The amazing part that surprises me is teachers who seem more consumed by what a development would mean to them versus what it would mean to their learners. Remember when someone would long to be a teacher to help the kids? We would do things differently, more interestingly, infuse more fun, etc. What happened to that attitude? Does something in particular kill it in the first years of teaching? Technology adds the excitement, creativity, and engagement students today are seeking. They want to be challenged to innovate and investigate. Maybe we should allow them to share the teaching and learning with us rather than assume we, as teachers, hold all the answers. How about allowing a class to design an online learning course based on the subject matter requiring coverage? The teacher is still in charge but the students help with the curriculum development for the teacher to build upon and learn as it grows. This would need tech assistance but could be gradually weaned as a trusted relationship between students and teacher gains. I would love to create this way and I think I will pursue this tomorrow now that I have pulled the thoughts out of my head. Interested in collaborating?

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Laurie…

      I think that you made some excellent points.

      On the cynical side of things, I really think that teachers are getting burned out…as we are expected to many more things with fewer resources. We are getting more and more students coming to use who are in “survival mode” since home is not the best environment. We are asked to show student “achievement” through tests that are improperly applied and interpreted. It is definitely not getting any easier.

      On the other side of things, the way that technology is exploding on to the scene is leading to some awesome new opportunities in pedagogy and instructional practice. I think that your idea of having the students develop an online course is really cool. I would definitely be interested in collaborating on a project like that!

      Mike 🙂

  2. mrsdurff says:

    Mike, I disagree. I think your colleagues were just plain rude.

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Lisa…

      Thanks for the support. Based on reading your blog, it sounds like you are experiencing similar types of things. You wouldn’t think that it would be so hard to try and make things better in our classrooms and schools.

      Mike 🙂

  3. Brandy Lutz says:

    Mike-I couldn’t agree more with your comments about your colleagues just needing more time to boost their confidence in using technology. However, I cannot imagine how you and your wife’s confidence felt after that. Disheartening is really putting it mildly I’m sure. I can relate because so often at my school, unless it’s one of the administrators that has thought of a new initiative they plan to incorporate, there is very little support and follow through made on teacher led initiatives. Even when so much good could come out of what is being proposed for the sake of the students. It’s really such a shame.

    -Brandy

    • Mike Dillon says:

      Hi Brandy…

      I know what you mean. My wife, three of our colleagues, and I decided to start a “tech” collaboration team. We invited any and all staff members and administrators to join us (during time that was open for everyone in the district based on our daily schedule). We just wanted to “talk tech” and brainstorm ideas, come up with some new ways to possibly integrate technology, and so on. We tried to plan a technology showcase night for the school board and community. We brainstormed ways to start an “academic booster club.” It was, for us, a great way to look for ways to help ourselves, our staff, and our school to try and take some steps forward.

      Long story short… Our principal attended one meeting. Our superintendent never made it to a meeting. We very little interest from other staff members. Our “tech night” got shot down. It was really frustrating. After a couple of months, we decided to quit meeting because we couldn’t get any support (unfortunately, the administration didn’t even seem to notice that we stopped meeting or that our weekly emails to the staff stopped being sent.

      Needless to say, this has been a pretty tough year at school for us…

      On a positive note, the group of us that are trying to promote technology are still working hard on doing everything we can in our classrooms to push the envelope when it comes to technology and innovation. We get together and collaborate (informally) to support each other.

      Mike 🙂

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