Obstacles and Suggested Solutions for Integrating Technology Into the Content Area

Throughout this course, it has been overwhelmingly evident that technology integration is key to the future of education.  No longer are we in a time that was similar to our experience in middle or high school, we are now in a time where technology is affecting our learning.

This is what I love about the EdTech field.  We are continually on the cutting edge of new learning technologies that not only can enhance our own learning, but the learning of our children (and students if you are in a classroom) as well.

Yet change makes people queasy.  Change brings on defensiveness, pride and opposition and yet within the realm of education, technology integration is going to be an essential change for now and into the future.  The integration of technology into the classroom will bring various opposition depending on subject area.

For example, some obstacles that will come up while trying to integrate technology into a social studies curriculum are cost, standards, and the overwhelmingly abundant amount of information on the internet.  When thinking specifically of social studies Roblyer and Doering (2012) state, “As an area that focuses on the interconnections of people and the earth, social studies education has been affected by the impact of technology perhaps more than any other content area”(p. 334).  Social studies covers such a broad area of content that integrating technology can be difficult.  In regards to standards and the difficulties that might come up, the incredible amount of standards to be addressed can be overwhelming for the instructional designer or teacher.  This is not necessarily a specific technology integration issue, but one that has been approached before the integration of technology.  The difficulty can come into how to provide good social studies experiences for learners. For some, the switch from a purely text-book based curriculum to a more experiential and project based activities.  Technology could be integrated into social studies by using different strategies such as (Roblyer and Doering 2012): Virtual field trips, geocaching with gps devices, history immersion experiences, stock market simulations, electronic storytelling, and more (p. 348).

Another obstacle that can arise integrating technology into the classroom is the training in the specific technology that a teacher has or receives.  Currently our school (International Christian School Hong Kong) we are moving into a 1:1 program where students will have MacBook Pro laptop computers.  One difficulty that we are seeing is that teacher experience and training is taking longer than expected.  The level of understanding the MBP is diverse across the three grade levels.  This has caused a slowing in the integration process.  Because the teachers are struggling with simple tasks in using the computers, there is not ample time to train them in how they could integrate this technology into their curriculum.  The school is understaffed in this area and it will be interesting to see how the transition starts.  Understandably this transition will take some time for the teachers to bring into their classes. Hopefully as they become more familiar with the tools available, they will be able to enhance their learning experiences using technology.

Works Cited

Roblyer, M., & Doering, A. H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6a ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Obstacles and Suggested Solutions for Integrating Technology Into the Content Area

  1. Hi Taylor –

    You are SO right when you say that change makes some people queasy. I have found a significant amount of fear, as well, in my district when it comes to implementing new technology. People fear what they do not understand, and that can absolutely make them queasy! Professional development, training on the chosen technology, is key to the success of implementing new technology. If a teacher doesn’t know how to use it, they won’t. Then a MacBook becomes a super expensive paper weight and a SmartBoard is just a glorified whiteboard.

    By providing professional development and time to ‘play’ with the new technology provided, teachers will be much more productive with the new tools provided. It sounds like your district has some challenges ahead, but you have some good tools for overcoming them. I wish you the best of luck!

    Jeanne

  2. Taylor,
    I enjoyed the thoughts you shared on the obstacles and solutions for integrating technology. I especially liked the cartoon that you had at the beginning of your post. I like that you brought up the obstacle of unwillingness to change. That is one that sometimes gets overlooked. We sometimes, in our exuberance to integrate technology ourselves, don’t realize that not everybody feels comfortable using technology as a part of teaching. Changing that mindset is a key to bringing successful integration to our schools. Appreciate you sharing.

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