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