Technology Obstacles

When implementing technology into the classroom, districts, individual schools, and each teacher has to overcome several obstacles.  Educators have to be patient and think outside the box to get technology to work in many cases.  Research needs to be done, discussions need to be made, and action needs to take place for technology to not only be available, but used readily with technology help and support available.

One obstacle my school is facing is having too little broadband for the amount of students who use the internet at one particular time.  I have set up a program for my struggling students to participate in, both at school and at home, working on skills and looking at concepts in a different way.  However, the schools broadband can not handle the amount of students who need the internet at one time.  When my students log into notebooks that are provided in my classroom, the internet is so slow it isn’t profitable to work online with the amount of time we have.  To help with this obstacle, several teachers are going to the school board, explaining the situation and the importance of having enough broadband for students to work on research and internet programs that help with our student’s education.

A school in Chicago had a similar situation with providing technology to all students, but not all students had enough money to provide internet use at home.  To help with this obstacle, the school stayed open for an extra 2 hours after school each day for students to use computers.  The school also was open on Saturday mornings for students to come and work on assignments.  Students were so proud that they have this opportunity they took advantage of using the internet each evening and 30% of the students came on Saturdays as well.

There is so much interest in using technology in the classroom, however, there are several obstacles that continually get in the way.  Teachers need to see these obstacles as a challenge and keep looking for new ways around the issues, showing the importance of critical thinking and problem solving to their students and co-workers, creating a 21-century learning environment for our learners.

Resource:

Chicago’s VOISE Academy Launches Amid Tech Challenges. (n.d.). Edutopia. Retrieved November 18, 2012, from http://www.edutopia.org/ikid-voise-academy-online-education-part-two

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3 thoughts on “Technology Obstacles

  1. I teach in a very rural area in Virginia and agree that lack of broadband is a problem. The school system I work in has done a fantastic job getting a fiber line run into each school, but once the students go home many do not have access to online resources. Many students tell me their only Internet access is using their smartphone to check Twitter or Facebook. Not only the lack of broadband, but also lack of hardware in many homes has made it difficult to cultivate online learning opportunities with students.

  2. Jaime,

    I certainly share your pain when it comes to a lack of broadband width to support student usage in schools. We certainly experience that in my school as well. I am in a K-12 school, and this problems rears its ugly head daily. I have found a few ways to alleviate the pressure on the broadband, like saving videos rather than streaming them, but this isn’t always enough.

    I found an interesting article (http://tinyurl.com/ckzog8b) about this issue and how non-profit partners are attempting to help schools. Unfortunately, we do not have such a partnership in Alberta.

    In a different article (http://tinyurl.com/c6k6a9e), it was talking about conducting a National School Broadband Test to truly see where the deficits lie. This program might be something you would be interested in participating in.

    I really enjoyed reading about the Chicago school that had found a way around this problem. It highlighted the best in education, flexibility, student engagement and teacher commitment. All of these are very often required to solve technology issues in schools!

    I am sure you have felt very frustrated that you set up a program to help struggling students that isn’t technologically supported. No doubt that frustration extends to your students as well! Have you come up with an alternative yet? It seems such a shame to have the tools available, yet the broadband is the barrier. I know not all schools, nor teachers would be willing to extend their operating hours accommodate the need for technology, but it certainly is an interesting

    Best of luck overcoming this obstacle and when you do, please share it, as I know there are many other educators facing the exact same issue!

    Thanks for you post this week,

    Angela

  3. Jaime,
    I love the idea of the school in Chicago to stay open and provide internet access. When I taught in the inner city, the situation was very similar. Families did not have money for internet access and often, not even to take a bus to a library. We finally got a small computer lab in the spring, but only certain classes had access to it for one period each week. That didn’t really accomplish much. I get your post entirely. Thanks!

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