Imagine you’re about to give a big presentation to a large audience. Just before you go on stage, your boss hands you a new gadget and tells you to use it. You’ve never seen the gadget before, you have no idea what it does, and you’ve never received any training on how to use it. Your boss assures you that it will make your presentation better, and just before you can respond, the curtain goes up.
If the thought of using the gadget for the first time in front of a large audience gives you any level of anxiety, you now know why many teachers never use the technology their districts provide.
According to EdNews Daily, the projection for educational technology spending in the United States will reach an astounding $38.2 billion this year. And while it may seem as though students will reap all the benefits of having innovative technology so close at hand, there is a giant hurdle that stands directly in their way of accessing it — their teachers.
But placing the blame on teachers being lazy or stuck in the past couldn’t be further than the truth. In fact, 95% of teachers nowadays report that they use technology regularly in their classrooms. From using video streaming services to presentation tools, digital curriculum, and assistive technologies, teachers are incorporating technology into their classrooms now more than ever.
So it’s obvious that teachers are using some of the technology they’re being provided, but what about the rest of it?
According to Glimpse K-12, $2 million was wasted on education technology that was not being used in the 275 school districts they looked at. And one can only imagine how much was wasted by all the districts in the country.
But again, while it’s easy to place blame on the teachers, there’s certainly more to the story.
During its latest nationwide survey of teachers, Common Sense Media found that 31% of respondents said the problem is the lack of adequate training while 63% said their districts did not effectively communicate which technology programs were even available to them.
So obviously, the first step toward not wasting money is for districts to effectively communicate to all of their teachers what technology is currently available. And the second step is to provide adequate training.
Because even when technology is designed to assist teachers in the classroom, simply purchasing it isn’t enough.
Teachers are already overwhelmed by everything they have to accomplish in a day, a week, a month, and the whole school year. So adding just one more thing to their plate doesn’t always feel like help. In fact, it often feels like a huge burden.
But when teachers receive effective training on the technology available, it reduces their stress level and improves both their teaching skills and their student’s outcomes. Plus, they can then use the technology to its fullest capability and become more efficient educators in the process. And that’s how you get teachers to buy into using new technology in their classrooms.