Obstacles on the Road to EdTech
This article is part of a new series for IT professionals in the education space. If you missed it, read the first article “What is EdTech?” where we’ll be adding links to additional articles as they publish.
At every level of education, from kindergarten through high school and college, educators are increasingly driving digital experiences in the classroom in order to increase student engagement, enrich learning, and foster comfort with real-world devices. When students were once punished for having a cell phone in class, today devices are welcomed in many schools as essential learning tools. The consensus among educational professionals seems to be that there’s nothing magic about education technology, but as our world becomes more and more digital, exploring ways to use iPads as part of lessons, giving students blogging assignments, or utilizing online coursework are not a waste of time—they’re worthwhile experiments that can have positive outcomes on learning.
But bringing technology into schools requires time, money, and widespread support. It takes a village to rear a tech-driven school. Not only does IT need the expertise to roll out, manage, and maintain new technology, but in order for technology to become part of a school’s way of life, teachers, administrators, and parents all need to be in favor.
Here are some of the most common obstacles you may face in your work to champion EdTech.
Lack of budget
In Education Dive’s 2015 State of Education Technology survey, budget limits came up as the top roadblock to providing education technology in a district. Seventy-six percent of education leaders and teachers found budget to be a challenge.
As the primary users of EdTech, teachers need to be properly trained in how and why digital tools are advantageous to student learning. More than anyone, a teacher knows his or her learning objectives. Without a clear strategy for success, teachers can fail to see the point of EdTech.
One teacher who gets on board can be a helpful model for others who are less prone to adopt new methods. Transforming the way teachers teach doesn’t happen overnight.
Insufficient Internet access
Forty percent of American schools lack the broadband they need to implement EdTech, and the White House’s ConnectED initiative aims to provide 99% of students access to next-generation broadband by the year 2018. Mark Zuckerberg has also committed to improving Internet in U.S. schools, donating 20 million dollars to the nonprofit Education Super Highway to further global Internet access.
Tech without strategy
Technology for technology’s sake can cause an EdTech project to belly flop, as the unfortunate Los Angeles iPad disaster showed. Clearly defined goals and expectations for what new technology should help accomplish can help educators better measure the success of EdTech initiatives.
This content was adapted from our eBook Education Technology in 2016. Download your copy of the eBook for a close look at EdTech trends and challenges, as well as interviews with IT leaders who are championing modern technology in their schools.