Engage Me!

What prevents us from using technology to engage students?  What can we do to change this?

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Published in: on January 2, 2014 at 5:53 pm  Comments (101)  

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  1. TIME is my greatest enemy when it comes to engaging my first graders with technology. I do use technology when I am teaching them. However, I don’t allow them to use technology as part of their learning tools. Technology is as valuable as paper and pencil in today’s world, therefore, I must find ways to use it more frequently, appropriately, and in meaningful, engaging ways. How do I change this? I hope that during this semester I learn about technology tools that my first graders can use to increase and prove their learning. I hope that my fears of them not understanding technology will lessen. This class is way overdue for me!

    • I am right there with you. I use technology in class, but it feels like it is only surface work. I read about teachers using technology as “true” tools for creating and learning. I want to be that teacher. I look forward to this class as well. It is good to see that others are where I am.

      When I went to undergraduate school, I felt so out of place. The Internet had not caught on completely when I graduated from high school and computers were those Apple computers with the green screen. Since I waited so long before I went back to college, I was in a HUGE technology shock. Talk about frustration.

    • I also teach first grade… Time is a constant frustration for me too, but I also lack the resources which makes my life even more difficult. I am still convinced that my kiddos need technology. In November, I created a class blog (Kidblog) and it really helped spark more of an interest in writing. But, with only 2 computers (and NO WIFI out in the mobile units), and with first graders typing at the speed of a turtle, it has made it very difficult to incorporate consistently. I guess we could all take a field trip to the computer lab. Good luck- I know we are going to learn so much. Kim

  2. What prevents me from using technology to engage my students…I feel that I use technology very often to engage my students, but I know I could and should use it more often. I have definitely used more technology over the past couple of years. I want to learn more about the various web sites and tools that are out there. I know this will help. I think I am just hesitant to try some things, but I need to just get over that…my students are more important than my hesitation.

    • I can relate! I’m looking forward to all the cool stuff we’re gonna learn.

  3. I think one of the biggest problems that we have as educators is our need to be an “expert” on something before we use it with our kids. This used to work well for us, but new technologies are so quick to change that it makes it impossible to stay ahead of the game. Just when we start to get comfortable with one tech tool, some other app is created and is a better choice for the lesson we were trying to do. I think that the way that we can change this is to allow our students to learn new tech tools simultaneously as we learn them. Digital natives will be able to figure out how to use the tools quickly as we try them out together. I look forward to learning even more about how to incorporate technology tools into my curriculum and engage my students even more.

    • I feel exactly the same. It can be overwhelming how quickly things change. One thing we might do is to allow our students to teach us about technology. My students are miles ahead of me.

    • I know exactly what you mean! I have found that asking my students for help is great. It increases their self-esteem and are very eager to teach me how to do it. I see that it helps them to feel more comfortable in class and participate much more!!

    • I feel the same way as you do. Our principal tells us to learn enough so that we can get the students started and then let them teach us. This is a hard thing to do.

    • I agree with you, April. I have wanted to try Voice Thread with my first graders, but I don’t feel like I’ve used it enough to actually teach my students how to use it. I really liked that we used it last semester in our reading class, but I need more exposure for my own comfort level. Good luck!
      Kim

      • I have used Voice Thread with my second graders. As I was explaining how to use the app for the first time, they pretty much just took the iPad and knew exactly what to do. I am so amazed at how quickly they learn (and how little explaining we really have to do!)

    • I definitely agree that we want to be experts. This mentality probably holds us back from a whole lot more than technology- but especially hits home with the use of technology. Like you said, it’s VERY hard to keep up with all the latest tools and when we get somewhat comfortable, something else comes up that can be better. I look forward to trying to let go a little more and let my students learn simultaneously alongside me!!
      -Tiffany James

  4. Time is definitely the top of the list when it comes to why I don’t use technology enough with my students. I feel like I barely get to spend time with them at all especially without worrying about taking notes and data constantly, a lot of times to me technology is just another thing near the bottom of the to-do list. Also, in Pre-K our students are limited to 10 minutes of screen time per day, which greatly limits what our “appropriate” use of technology could be. However, I hope to eventually be able to use some of the technology that I am learning about currently to engage my future students, and maybe even my current little ones.

    I think we could also change this, by not just telling teachers to incorpororate technology and handing them an iPad, but taking time to watch modeled lessons using the technology, and offering training (that we actually have a chance to go to)

    • I was actually able to do a professional development class on Kidblog at my school and it was one of THE MOST helpful professional development classes that I have ever been to. I so agree about offering training for technology. I am so visual and hands-on that in order to get it, that is exactly what I need.
      Kim

      • We definitely need more training on the use of technology! On how to engage our students in making choices with technology as well!

  5. Several things come to mind. First, there’s simple not enough technology at my school, and this is sad. Next, some of my students don’t have technology at home. Also, lots of my planning period is used with duties that take up lots of my time–planning activities using technology takes time that I don’t always have. Ways to overcome these issues include having my students work in teams for, at least some exposure to technology because some of them have smart phones that I embrace in my classroom. Also, I encourage students to go to the Public Library to use technology. As far as the time, I just need to try harder and do more.

    • Wendy Fontenot

    • It is too bad that your school doesn’t have more technology available to you. I understand the issue with students not having technology at home…that is a huge stumbling block!!

    • That is one of the tough issues…how do we engage our students who do not have access to technology at home?? What can we do besides refer them to the public library (which is a great resource) and hope that they will go.

  6. I think it is a combination of a lot of things that just lead to frustration. I do use technology as a teaching tool and as a learning tool for students, but would use it more if it didn’t cause so much frustration. More so from sources outside of my control. Some examples:

    *Planned some great lessons for next week with students using technology. Just got an email we need to limit internet usage next week due to high school exams. There goes those plans and the time I put into them! = Frustration

    *Trying to fight with 24 other teachers over signing up for an iPad cart = Frustration

    *Trying to schedule anything engaging at all around Read to Achieve testing (being a 3rd grade teacher) and Reading 3D Testing = Frustration

    *Planning lessons with technology and the technology not working. All of our stuff is outdated and we don’t have the permission to upgrade to current versions of software = Frustration

    *Not being able to use websites such as twitter, youtube, etc. because they are blocked in our county = Frustration

    *Students working really hard on a project, only for the system to get wiped and all documents lost = Frustration

    I could go on, but those are the main reasons. “Paper and Pencil” and hands-on activities are just easier and more reliable and lead to less frustration. Hopefully some of those things will get better and I will use it more. I try as much as I can.

    • I am a 3rd grade teacher as well. Having to do 36 passages is completely overwhelming and totally understand the frustration.

    • The tried-and-true paper and pencil method is reliable! While these digital age students tire with it, it is guaranteed to actually work. Too bad technology issues aren’t always as easy as sharpening a pencil. I am a proponent of the old school method, but I know that I HAVE to learn to use and integrate technology. Hopefully counties and government will get on board and fund schools so that they are able to properly equip teachers and students with ENOUGH resources.

  7. I think that time to plan and figure out how to use technology is a big factor in why I do not incorporate it more. There are times when I have planned lessons and I want to use technology, but I get frustrated when it does not work properly.

    Last semester, I learned about a lot of different technology ideas to use in my classroom. I got all “fired” up about using them and then I found that they were blocked in my district. This is FRUSTRATING.

    I could change this by setting some time aside to explore technology more. I could then think of ways to incorporate technology into my lessons instead of having to always just have the technology lesson. I know that this will make a difference.

    • I totally agree with you on the time to plan for technology that seems to fit. It is annoying that things are blocked. When our district had tablets (being that they were recalled), us teachers would spend all this time planning to incorporate them just to find that software features blocked this and that; everyday there were issues with connectivity and apps being blocked or removed. We were relieved to see them go, at least until they can work out all the kinks. Wasted time.

    • Last semester, I learned lots of new tricks with technology and wanted to incorporate them into my own classroom and found out almost everything was block as well. This is very, very frustrating as a teacher in a world of technology. I feel like we have to compensate for not having access to sites, or the technology that we need to teach.

    • Dawn I know exactly how you feel. There are so many sites blocked in my district as well. I was so excited to use Prezi with my students, but it hadn’t been updated and we couldn’t use it because that has to be done by IT…of course the teachers don’t have the password to do it.

  8. Time is a huge factor that prevents teachers from using technology in the classroom. It takes so much time to research and figure out what are the most effective tools and how to use these tools to enhance instruction.

    Once you find a really cool program or tech device to use, then money becomes an issue. Who is going to pay for the technology? Mini grants through DonorsChoose is one way I have been able to find funds for low tech devices.

    I think there is also significant frustration with technology due to everyday glitches and lack of training with student data systems and assessment programs such as Reading 3D which negatively impacts how teachers view technology and its use in the classroom.

    I think we need to embrace the digital knowledge that students acquire and become a digital learning community together. Making digital learning a collaborative effort will save time and engage students in worthwhile and meaningful learning.

  9. I think I don’t use technology more because I am old! Ha! I do use it but I feel I could absolutely use it to a greater degree. Typically, my students help me with anything beyond the basics. Also, I think I am just an old school traditionalist who has yet to ever read on a technological device because I love turning the page in a book and I brainstorm better with pen and paper versus a keyboard. However, I need to do a better job of realizing that to my students, the keyboard is their pen and paper and there is so much to be learned by utilizing technology the correct way.

    • I feel like I could “stretch” lots more to use technology in my classroom too. I think we just have to realize that the world is changing and we have to learn to adapt and change with it. This is so hard and frustrating at times as a teacher! Thanks for sharing!

  10. I think time, availability and awareness are issues which prevent us from using technology. I find it hard to find the time to teach the kids about a new technology while managing expectations, high numbers of students, and multiple grade levels at one time. The availability to technology is also an issue. While our school does have several different tools available, they have to be checked out. We also have issues with the internet. Sometimes its too slow, then we are expected to limit usage, or it simply doesn’t work. I also feel like there are many good resources available for use that we simply aren’t aware of or can’t access at school due to internet restrictions. A personal frustration is that I was told I would be getting ipads for my students at the beginning of the year (which made me very excited). I went through training to get them, but have yet to see them. I look forward to learning more about different technologies and how to implement them in this class. I think that making things more available and having trainings and support will increase the likelihood of classroom implementation.

    • I would also be very, very frustrated if I did not receive I-pads and I went through the entire training. Talk about lowering teacher morale! I think that our school districts, like you mentioned, are going to have to open up more technological windows in order for us to have students ready to compete and live in a world that is globally literate.

  11. I am fortunate enough to be in a school with lots of technology, so access is not an issue. I do incorporate some technology, such as websites with early reading activities for my K-1 ESL students. My students also read e-books through Reading A to Z. Reading on an iPad is very exciting for my little ones!

    What prevents me from using technology more is my lack of knowledge on how to use technology to help my students grow in their English proficiency. I feel great responsibility to use the 20-40 minutes I have with my each group to expose them to as much language as possible and allow them to use the language in meaningful ways. I also want them engaged in reading activities as much as possible. My goal this semester is to learn ways to use technology to help students develop their language skills and grow as listeners, speakers, readers, and writers of English.

    So…it seems my greatest obstacle is my own lack of knowledge. Hopefully I will resolve that this semester!

    • Whoops! Didn’t log in before hitting Post. This is from Sarah Collins.

    • I too feel as if I am lacking in knowledge. Personally I do not take many technological risks- I own an iPhone and a laptop. I have a Facebook account and that is it. Professionally, I need to learn a lot more about the array of tools that I can implement within my classroom. It feels overwhelming, but I guess as you play around with tools, you tend to learn more.

    • I feel like I am definitely have a lot to learn about technology and what is out there as well. I know that the students I teach know a whole lot more about technology than I do! I know that with the ESL students you teach, they learn a lot just by reading online. It is wonderful that you have so much access.

  12. What prevents me from using technology with my students……I think I use a good amount of technology with my students. However, I would like to do more where my students can be independent and engaged in something meaningful. I have several problems with technology. One being that it is hard to find student appropriate sites and tools that I know they will enjoy (and I know how to use). I just need to become a little more knowledgeable in what is out there to use with my students.

    • BTW….Faith Dibble wrote this post!

    • It looks like this will be the perfect class for you and I Faith…I know exactly how you feel!!!

  13. Time is foremost a factor preventing technology use. There just seems to be so many mandates in the confides of the regular school day/class block, that trying to introduce new tools seems as if one is “straying” away from the requirements. Ideally, the best way to utilize technology is to do so in harmony with what is actually being taught…well by the TIME the teacher learns how to use the tool, teach the students how to use it in reference to curricular goals, and set the students free to explore…my has the TIME gone bye bye!
    Secondly, lack of knowledge concerning the digital age is a barrier. Personally, I often feel as if I don’t know jack about wikis, and podcasts, and Google Docs & Chrome, tablets, and whatever else is out there! The thought is overwhelming, but not ever learning to use these tools is scary. I have only been teaching for 6 years, and technology has changed so much lately, I would be committing digital suicide if I don’t try to learn how to navigate and implement these tools into the classroom.
    I think at some point we have to just “dive-in” and see where the experimentation takes us.

    • – LaShaunda Brown

    • -LaShaunda Brown

    • -LaShaunda Brown

    • I feel like I don’t know jack at times too. I know most all of my students could teach circles around me when it comes to technology. I think with this course though, that we are going to learn and do things with technology that we never dreamed we could do on our own. We do have to experiment-that’s how we learn and that’s how our kids learn too. Thanks for sharing:)

      • I’m right there with you Pattie. My kids sometimes tell me what I need to do to turn something on….or they tell me what their teacher does. They are very observant!

    • Our school is pushing us to use more technology. The 6-8 grades are suppose to go to one-to-one with Chrome Books soon. K-5 will have one-to-one with some type of device in the next year or two. I hope that we get more administrative rights before we get all this. I have been trying to learn about Google Docs and the students really like to use it. I like it too. Although I have to admit that I am not real good with it. I have been trying to use Twitter this year. Students can’t use it, but we have been encouraged to use it. I am just not one to post everything I do. Although it is fun. I can see how I could become a Twitter addict…..

      • I am determined to incorporate twitter into my classroom! Still figuring out how I am going to do it. I wanted each class in my grade level to make one so we could retweet, and favorite each other, but they didn’t seem to like the idea of having a twitter account to use at work!
        The way I want to use twitter is to have the students (first graders) tweet the main idea of a topic we are learning, or have them tweet the things a plant needs to survive, and have another class respond, re-tweet or favorite.

  14. What keeps me from using technology in my classroom is accessibility. We are a brand new school and our resources have gone to actually building the school so this year has been tough on technology usage. I feel like the use of technology to teach lessons would be a wonderful advantage to have the students interact during a lesson, games to play for educational purposes. Unfortunately the lack of accessibility of technology has made teaching lessons with technology cut down to 1/4 of my lessons. I do however have computers where my students are able to work on them during their centers. Luckily I can let the students individually work on computers and practice lessons using technology.

    To change this, we have come up with multiple fundraisers to raise money to put toward technology for our grade level!!!

  15. What keeps me from using technology in my classroom is lack of resources. We are a small middle school and all we have is one computer lab. Students do not have access to classroom laptops, I-pads, or I-pods. This makes me feel very inadequate when I teach children because I know that they are yearning to use technology of various kinds on a daily basis. Hopefully, with a brand new Superintendent, we will gain the technological resources that we need. Students do need to become globally literate in school as well as at home. I would love for students to use technology and learn to be self-reliant. I know that the students know way more about technology than I do and I would love to set them free. I would love to use twitter and other social media within my classroom as a tool. The question is how do you change the people in charge and parents minds about the negativity of social media? I know lots of my students go home and spend hours on the computer or other technology, so why can’t we incorporate learning at home and make it fun at the same time? I really think a lot of teachers do not engage students in technology in their classrooms because they are not knowledgeable or comfortable enough to teach “all” of it. By “all” of it I mean wikis, blogs, and new tools that have just scratched the surface that students are aware of that we have no clue yet. I think as teachers we have to step back and realize that students can teach us a thing or two.

    • I had a co-worker apply for 5 iPads on donorschoose.org
      She was fully funded within a month and now they are hers to use no matter the school or class!
      Cool right?
      I plan on following suit and thought I’d share with you!

  16. Problems that I seem to have with using technology to engage students stem from several things. Time is a definite issue what with everything else my students are busy preparing for. Also, the fact that I’m definitely not an expert when it comes to technology plays a huge role in this. My students are constantly teaching me different things about technology, and I feel like I’m not able to teach them anything. It’s definitely not a bad thing when the roles are reversed, because they feel great when they can show me something, and they are still utilizing the technology at the same time. I just wish I could contribute a bit more and get the hang of some of these new technological concepts. My school is actually very lucky that our Juniors and Seniors have Macbooks and our Freshmen and Sophomores have IPADS. The major problem we run into here is that everything we need is blocked. My students can barely do any kind of research without the message “BLOCKED” popping up. If the school and the central office could possibly get on board with one another, things would be easier for the kids and teachers when it comes to using technology in the classroom. I’m also hoping to learn something new in this class, perhaps something my students don’t already know about, so that I can surprise them with my newfound knowledge of technology.

  17. It took me a few minutes to even figure out how to reply to this post:-) Ha, this class is going to be GREAT for me. I do LOVE technology but I feel like I’m faced with MANY challenges in my classroom related to technology. First, I am out in a mobile unit. This poses a problem because there is NO wifi connection. I still don’t understand the technicalities with what this actually means, but I do know that I can NOT access internet on my school ipad. This can be a little bit of a pain in the rear. I would LOVE to be able to have the same options as the staff in the building! Second, we have 2 computers for the students to use. During the Fall, I introduced my class to Kidblog (which is WONDERFUL BTW), but with only 2 computers and with 21 first graders, it’s hard to find time for them to get on and respond to different posts that I create. There is a laptop cart (and ipad cart) at our school but by the time I lug it outside and up the ramp to my room, I still don’t have wifi (so I’m guessing it would be pointless to even try that option)?? I think the ONLY way that I can give access to ALL of my children is to schedule a time in the computer lab (in the building). It is quite a CHORE to get my children into the building (like a field trip). It is so much work, but I guess this may be a once a month thing that I NEED to do.

    • Our sweet little first graders! I know the struggle lol.
      It would be cool to take them once a month and by the end of the year maybe they will have the hang of it.
      Crazy about that wifi though.

  18. In my opinion many educators are hesitant to use technology because they do not understand how to effectively integrate it into their curriculum. Teachers are constantly having to dedicate time to tutoring students, planning lessons, grading, and attending professional development workshops; although technology has the ability to engage and challenge students in every grade, educators are often unwilling or unable to set aside the time and energy it takes to learn to use technology seamlessly. I also think that teachers feel they must have a sound understanding of the technology and apps before they introduce them into the classroom; I have found that in my classroom the students enjoy having the opportunity to show me how to use new apps more effectively. The use of technology in the classroom opens up the door for teachers to show their students that they are learning also and that education is a constant process. In order to increase the level of technology used on a daily basis in classrooms across the country, teachers must be given access to technology and software programs. Once teachers are given the tools they need to make their curriculum more technology focused, training and professional development sessions could help educators feel more confident and comfortable. In my high school each student is given an Ipad, which they are required to bring to school on a daily basis. The availability of technology in my classroom has allowed me to develop lessons centered on online “apps”. For example, my students have had success analyzing and annotating primary source documents using the “I-Annotate” App. I feel that the introduction of technology into my daily lesson plans have allowed my students to play a more active role in the classroom and at home. I often use Google Docs to allow my students to compete group assignments together outside of designated school day.

    • This is Stephanie Rice!

  19. I feel like I have a “roller coaster” of a relationship with technology. I love it most days, and some days I want to throw it out of the window!! I love my Ipod touch and the Ipad I have from work. I also enjoy using my Macbook. It is a wonderful tool that students LOVE and use frequently in their everyday lives and in my classroom, but it sometimes makes me cringe. The fact of the matter is, that we teachers love to have everything “together”. With technology, you are never fully prepared because there are so many aspects that can come up- technology glitches, or things that we didn’t catch when planning the lesson. It is definitely scary when we go through uncharted territory and is a turn-off for a lot of teachers. I have tried and succeeded with technology in my classroom and I have also tried and failed. I believe the main thing that makes us hesitate with using technology is the uncertainty of it. The “unknown” isn’t a place of comfort for us.
    The one thing that comes to mind when I think of a solution to this problem is to face our fears, test the waters- it will take time, cause frustration, and may make you want to throw the technology out of the window, but it will probably lead to a lot of learning in the process, a lot of enjoyment, and excitement. The students will become engaged and we will become less fearful of the unknown.

    • This is Tiffany James!! 🙂

  20. I think one of the biggest challenges I face when it comes to technology is time. Since I work a lot with pull-out groups, I only see a my students for 30-40 minutes at a time, sometimes just a few days a week. Also, I feel like it takes a great deal of time to find quality and beneficial resources to use with my students. The EC/ESL department was recently fortunate enough to get a set of iPods that we share. I’ve thought of several ways to use them, but any time I want to add an app, I have to go through our technology coordinator which makes the process a little more challenging. Also, I feel like there are so many resources available that I’m unaware of, or if I have heard of them, I haven’t been able to spend time learning how to use them. I am on the SIT team at my school and I know one action step we were working on was for each grade level to choose one type of technology (whether it be a website, app on the iPad, etc.) to implement. I think maybe if we could take small steps to incorporate technology, we would be more likely to do it and it would more likely stay as a daily part of our classrooms.

    • It is awesome that you have access to iPods. Your students will love using those. I agree with you as far as having time to use technology but I find some way to implement everything I can into every part of my day. Good luck in the class this semester.

  21. My problem is knowing how to use the technology. I learned so much last semester from Dr. Kissel’s class and it made me want to learn more. I have an interactive whiteboard that I just got installed last week and I am having to play with it and read the little thin booklet that came with it. My kids love technology….I tell them they are technology starved. They like for me to show them things on the computer. I also have a document camera and I use it all the time. I just wish all my students had an iPad. That would be awesome. I have written for grants for various technology…that is how I got the document camera. I students are low income but the sad thing is that some of my students may not have necessities but their mother seems to have a better phone than I do. Of course they are never allowed to use it. I want to come out of this class with technology knowledge that will help me help my students! I am so excited. Good luck everyone.

    • I also have trouble knowing how to use the technology. I want to know more, and hopefully this class will do that. I used to have a document camera at my old school, and it really is awesome! It makes things a little bit easier and more fun for you and the students. It’s so cool that you wrote grants for some of the technology that you have…that’s really being a great teacher! 🙂

  22. One challenge for using technology in the classroom is access. Many students don’t have access at home and we don’t have daily individual access. This makes it hard to assign research, projects, or assignments. Our district is considering one to one access for students, which I think would help, but right now it is a waiting game. I visit the lab once a week and utilize the use of the smartboard, document camera, many different internet sites, quizlet for vocabulary, allow students to use phones or tablets in class for response, note-taking, internet access, etc., as well as using smart response system, we use googleclassroom once a week in the lab, and incorporate the use of epals for global communication and collaboration.

    Another challenge is knowledge of what is best to use and how to use it. Most of our training in technology is a brief overview designed for just surface level knowledge. Teachers participating in the training are at varying skill levels with technology and teach differing subjects, which makes it hard to get to the ‘meat’ of how to use it best for each subject. Also working and planning with other teachers that are not experienced with technology make the use difficult. Offering more basic training and practice for these teachers could help to rectify this problem, if the training is ongoing. Also offering varying degrees in training specific to subjects and use would be a benefit. Some teachers may also find it intimidating for students to know more than they do, but they can be great teachers.

    There is so much out there to use, it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what is best to use and how to do it. I can be engrossed on my own for hours figuring it out on my own, but I want to use what is the best fit, and not use something just to say I use it.

    • Christy,
      How amazing to hear everything you are already doing with your students only 1 day per week! My county is in the process of 1-1 and my school started sending iPads home in November. There have been a few minor issues but overall the students LOVE this and we do too! With all of the resources your are currently using, you will be way ahead once your district goes 1-1! 🙂

      • WOW! Sending home iPads! Im soo envious! lol We have been given one iPad and have been told to not let the students use it 😦

    • Student access to technology is definitely a challenge. It does make it hard to assign things, because you don’t want to exclude those that may not have access.

      The waiting game for technology is something we deal with at my school as well. We are supposed to get chrome books for the students, but at this point no one is sure of when. Having more technology readily available to the students would make it easier.

    • Sounds like you are doing A LOT of great technology integration already! I definitely agree with your comment about it being overwhelming to decide what type of technology to use and he best way to implement it. It can easily become a waste of time if the use of technology is not well planned and intentional. I find myself reading reviews on apps/websites and trying out what other educators suggest because it takes less time than sifting through so many on my own! I am excited to devote some time to really learning about more technologies for our classroom this semester though!

  23. Although I do use technology in my classroom, I do not use it as much as I would like or as much as I should. A few barriers for me are time, limited availability of technology, and the fear of excluding many students because of a lack of technology in their own homes.

    Using technology often takes extra time, for example; we have clickers in our classroom that can be used with our SMARTBoard, and I do use these sometimes, but it is very time consuming to get the assignments put together and saved for later use. It is also time consuming when using technology because it never fails, I have several students who are “technologically illiterate,” which demands a lot of my time.

    At my school we have two computer labs, three Mac Air carts, and two iPad carts. We are able to sign these out, but most of the time when I would like to use these in my classroom, they are already reserved by other teachers.

    My principal had wanted me to assign homework online through Discovery Education, but I have not yet done this because a surprising number of my students have indicated that they do not have a computer or internet at home. I know that this is something that I need to work on because I am limiting my students who do have access.

    • I totally understand what you mean about having a few students that are “illiterate with technology” and they are noticeable. 🙂 Typically I link them with one of the students in class who is tech savvy and it is a win for all (One loves teaching because they are sharing their giftedness, the one learning is being trained from a friend, and I do not have to take up my time for it.)

      Assigning homework seems to be a touchy subject because how do you balance those that have access and want a challenge with those who do not have the access. We were told we could not assign GRADES or we must allow them time in class for those that do not have the internet at home. I would love to hear how you school makes a decision about Discovery Ed homework!
      Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

    • I completely agree that using technology can be time consuming. Students benefit from it so I try very hard to find the time to incorporate new things but it can be hard. My school also has the same sign out system for our iPad carts. There is priority given to the 3-5 teachers and then it is first come first serve for us K-2 teachers. It is very frustrating when I have signed up for the cart, made my lesson plans and then get over ridden by a 3-5 teacher who needs them at the same time. I can relate to the lack of access.

      Assigning online homework sounds amazing. I wonder if there is a way that you could print out assignments for students who don’t have access while letting others do it online. This sounds like it could be a very cool and somewhat easy way to differentiate homework for students!

    • Hi!
      What if you gave an assignment that could be completed either online or by pen and paper? Then those having access will have the opportunity to use technology, and those who do not have access can still complete the assigned task.
      Or! Maybe those who do not have access at home are allowed class time to complete the assignment while those who have access at home spend class time working on another assignment. Sort of like a two part assignment. One part technology, one part paper. If they don’t have technology at home they will complete that part in class and the paper part at home, but if they do have technology they will only complete the paper work in class and will complete the assignment when they get home.

  24. I made the previous post before I created an account…sorry!

    • How did you get your picture to show up? I can see my profile picture in the top right of my screen, but I don’t see it on my posts.

  25. When teachers do not know how to use and teach multimedia, students could become disengaged. It is difficult to impart what you do not possess. One way to overcome this problem is to continually have teacher workshops with current technology training.

    Also, some students do not have internet access at home which could led to additional problems. However, this could be overcome by having them download certain programs prior to leaving school, encouraging them to find free WIFI in the community, or opening the school for access to computers.

    Finally, I personally believe that teachers can be afraid of not knowing what to do, that students will already have the program mastered, and of failing with technology. As educators we must hold a humble attitude and realize that we are all still learning and students have much that they can teach us in regards to technology.

    • I agree with you that students become disengaged when a teacher doesn’t know what they are doing. It is important that teachers are trained on what they should be using. I have had students teach me things on the IPads that I did not know before. They always think it is cool to teach their teacher something. Teachers need to be open to learning from students and show their students that they too are learners.

      • I like what both of you have said about having a humble attitude and showing our students that we are learners too. I just love when my students teach me something I did not know, or notice something I never have! And they sure love it too! So many apps that we use in kindergarten are so intuitive that my digital native kids figure out how to use them faster than I do!

    • I agree that professional development workshops would help teachers become more confident when using technology in the classroom. Last year, my school had a technology training for a new program called Reading Eggs and all of the teachers on my team were able to successfully use it in the classroom.

  26. One of the challenges I have encountered with using technology in the classroom is access. Many of my students do not have access to the Internet when they are at home. About half of my students have a tablet of some kind at home, but the others do not have a computer or tablet. Most parents do have smart phones but, being in a title one school, a vast majority of my parents work multiple jobs and have their phones with them while at work. My classroom does have a SmartBoard, which I use for almost everything, two student computers and two IPads. My students rotate through the IPads and the computers but it takes a while for all 20 of them to get a turn. My school also has a computer lab, which my students go to as a special once every other week. We have two IPad carts that can be checked out. This is a sign up system with preference given to 3-5 grade levels, so it is very difficult for me to get the carts as a kindergarten teacher. A way to fix these problems would be to allow students who have technology at home to bring it to school and use. This way the students who do not have the technology at home could use the ones provided by the school. Teachers could help students set up what is needed for assignments on their personal tablets and students could use it both at home and at school.
    Another problem I have noticed is how the teachers are trained on new technologies. In my experience one person per grade level will be trained and then told to teach the rest of their grade level what to do. I have been both the trainee and the trainer and both a stressful. The trainer feels that they have to remember all aspects of the new technology and pressure to be an expert on what they have learned. There is always something that is forgotten or remembered incorrectly and then the team if confused/ unable to use the new technology correctly. The trainee wants to learn about the new technology but generally has questions that cant be answered. I think this could be a PD set up and opened to anyone who wants to learn how to use the new technology. This way the real experts are available to answer questions.
    Lastly, I think that time is a huge factor in incorporating technology into a classroom. Teachers want to feel comfortable with what they are using with their students. This means that the teacher needs time to play with and explore the things that the students will be using. Getting familiar with multiple forms of technology can take a while for a teacher who is not used to them. I always feel like I learn the best when it is hands on, when I can try things, make mistakes and fix them. I need time to play with websites or apps before I will let my students use them. I want to be able to show them how to use the technology correctly to get the most out of it and be able to help them if a problem does come up. This takes time.

    • I agree with you about the time factor. Everyone needs time to play with technology when it’s new to them. and that includes teachers. It would be great if there were PD’s set up when it comes to new technology. At my school we have had a few and they are really helpful. We have also done what you discussed, where teachers train each other, and I agree that it is a more stressful process. No one can ever remember everything perfectly, and it makes it very confusing to all involved.

    • I agree with you about the training and time. We have to have time to get comfortable with what we are working with, and when teachers have varying degrees of experience with technology it is difficult to be on the same page in training.The hands on experience is also a must. I remember a few years ago trying to use museumbox for students to present a project. It was horrible. There was such a lag, information would disappear and then reappear. I never used it again once we were done.

    • As a teacher at a Title I school, I also have the same problem with access to technology at home. While some students are able to get Internet at home, the large majority of my students don’t have access. Last year, there was an idea to open up our computer lab to parents and students after school. I don’t know what happened but we never got the computer lab open. Now, I always try to encourage parents to visit the local library with their children. However, some have difficulty getting to the library because they do not have a car.

  27. One thing that prevents me from using technology to engage my students is time. Not just time carved into the day to go to the lab even though that’s part of it, but time in my schedule to incorporate technology into my lessons. Although my class only has a set time once a week to get to the computer lab, I do have a SmartBoard in my classroom that I utilize daily with my students. The difficult part is when I try to use something else like Blendspace and incorporate it into my lessons. Our plannings often get cut for various reasons, so there isn’t always time to add a variety of technology to the lessons.

    Another thing that prevents me is my own lack of knowledge about the different types of technology that can be used. I know the basics and as I said before I use BlendSpace as well as the Compass Learning website with my students, but there is so much out there that I don’t know about.

    A third thing that prevents me from using technology is the fact that there isn’t as much as I wish there was at my school. We have three computers per classroom and a SmartBoard in the room. We can also sign out an ipad cart, and we are supposed to get eight or nine chrome books at some point this year. We do have technology Fridays, where the students can bring in various forms of their own technology. It would be great if our school was one to one, that way we could work on things as a class.

    • It would definitely be easier with one to one access. It seems like we all struggle with the same issues.

    • I agree with you regarding having time to plan for technology. I want it to be meaningful and support my lesson, not just using technology for the sake of it. This seems to take a lot of time!

  28. Incorporating technology into my lessons every day is very difficult for many reasons. The first reason is that there is a lack of technology readily available in the school I work at. I am an EC teacher, and I have 2 computers (that are older than my students), and I have two iPads. I also have a document camera and projector, which I use every day. I try to incorporate iPads and computers into my lessons, but I don’t have enough for each student, so what should take one day will take a week because I’m having to rotate kids with devices. Time is also an issue which is increased because of the lack of technology that I have available for my students.
    Another difficulty I have is that I have my students for a limited amount of time. I only have some of my students for 30 minutes a day. By the time I get my students on the computer and logged on, 15 minutes has passed by, and nothing was completed. I also struggle with the fact that I’m required to use research-based programs (like Letterland, Language!, Number Worlds, etc which is great, and they are effective), but using the programs limits my ability to incorporate technology. I am given fidelity checks, and I have to stay on pace with these programs, or I get in trouble for not maintaining fidelity. When I add iPads into the mix, I almost always get a day behind, although it’s worth it for my students, and they are much more engaged when I use technology.
    An idealistic event that would help my students would be if each student were provided an iPad or laptop, and then they were trained how to use the device. If students had a personal electronic device to use that they already knew how to use, the factor of time would be alleviated because every student would have a device they could use, and they would understand the basic functions of the device, and I wouldn’t have to spend their EC service time teaching them the functions. In my opinion, this would be the best way to increase technology usage in the school system today.

    • I can only imagine how difficult it can be to incorporate technology when you only have your students for 30 minutes a day. I agree with you that it would be helpful if your students could bring their personal technology to school. They would know how to use it and save time.

  29. I am very fortunate and happen to be a 1:1 classroom with iPads. I also have 5 laptops/chrome books in my room as well. While being 1:1 makes engaging students with technology much easier I now look to make sure technology is supporting my instruction in a way that allows students to create with the device and not just substitue. However I truly do believe that some substitution is still very beneficial and engaging for students!

    Before I had this many devices in my room, I thought that a preventions was explanation and comfort with technology. Taking time to explain the application, website, etc. takes time and sometimes some students need more assistance than others. This was very time consuming and as wel all know time is something we never have enough of! One thing that I have found to be beneficial is to keep the explaining to as little as possible. Usually students can figure out how to navigate without explanations and those who do have questions you can help individually unless you have a repeated questions then you should address it whole group.

    Technology is something that can be so beneficial in education but it is also something that takes a lot of training to use. Schools could do a better job with PD on technology!

    • With having so much technology in your classroom, do you feel like you get adequate support and training? We have lots of technology available (though not 1:1), but are left to our own knowledge and ability level to use it with the children.

    • That is great that you have 1:1! I have shown my students many websites and apps that they use and you are right, it is very time consuming. I started to make direction cards (with pictures) on a ring that stay by the computer/iPads. This shows my students how to open different apps and what to do if something pops up or goes wrong. This has helped them become more of a problem solver when something goes wrong and has saved me a lot of time.

      • I like your picture card idea! Especially for ELL’s. It does take up a lot of time to introduce and make sure they know how to use the technology to be able to really learn with it (and not come to you for help every two seconds!). I also agree with Brittany that we can often explain less than we think and the kids will work to figure it out. My approach with introducing new apps is to teach a few kids and then have them teach other groups of kids. It’s been working great with my kindergarteners so far!

  30. Although not a digital native, I am very comfortable using technology for my own learning and work. The thing I lack the most is having a large “bag of tricks” for technology. I do incorporate it as much as I can when teaching, but I am not fluent enough with technology for instructional purposes that I naturally plan lessons that incorporate it.

    Two things that I embrace when using technology in the classroom are:

    1. Allowing myself to use it without knowing everything about it and figuring it out with the kids.

    2. Recognizing that part of the lesson will be used up with teaching the technology instead of the content, and that is ok.

  31. The biggest thing that prevents me from using more technology in my classroom (ok, other than TIME) is a lack of collaborative effort. It just isn’t a priority of my school or my team. Any technology I choose to integrate is seen as new/cool but I feel like I am taking baby steps trying to get my team members on board. I hope being in this course will give me the extra enthusiasm (and research to back it up) to push my team forward and integrate more technology in meaningful ways across our curriculum.

    • Lydia, I agree that technology doesn’t seem to be a priority. There is so much focus on testing and data that no one really wants to talk about how technology could help students! I’ve been trying to incorporate more technology into my classroom and hope this class will help.

  32. The biggest struggle I have with technology in the classroom is finding meaningful ways for young students to create their own work. Manh of my students have their own iPads or tablets at home, but not all of them do. I am sure that some of my students know more than I do about how to create work using different apps, but I have not tapped into their knowledge yet due to lack of time and confidence in the outcome. It is difficult for me to devote the precious classroom time to exploring new technologies when I’m not sure if it will be valuable to the students or seen as valuable by administrators. This is a risk that I know I need to start taking and hopefully this course will help me do so.

  33. One of the biggest struggles that I have with technology is access to it. In my classroom, I only have three computers, all of which are from the year I graduated elementary school. One recently was hooked up to my projector so that really only leaves me with two working computers for my students to use. We do have two iPad carts at my school but they always seem to be breaking or malfunctioning. As a first grade teacher, I find it really hard when they don’t work because my students can’t fix them on their own and it takes time away from the activity that I have planned. I have had a lot of success with apps like Reading Eggs, RazKids, and DreamBox but have found it hard this year to use them consistently. In order to change this, I think that we need to have someone who is in charge of maintaining the technology and responsible for making sure that it is updated. I would love to use more technology in my classroom and hope that this course can give me some more ideas.

  34. Its hard to use what you don’t have! Prior to Christmas break, the only working technology in my classroom was the teacher-assigned laptop and a digital camera! Oh, we also had an ipad but were told the students could not use it because they may break it – …umm..what?..
    Anyway.
    I am glad to say since then we now have 2 working student laptops, one working student desktop, and a projector(one I don’t have to share with other teachers^_^).
    Though i haven’t had the best access to technology this year, I cannot say the same for the past year. So what stopped me from using it more during those years? Ignorance and time.
    Can’t teach what you don’t know! I used the computer for word processor, online math and phonics games, and online read aloud. That’s as far as I embedded technology because I didn’t know how to do more. I didn’t even know what my options were. Podcast, blogs, screen-o-matic, voicethread, etc. were well outside of my knowledge realm on technology.
    So I did what I knew..and boy when you have 1st graders, that sure does take a lot of TIME! For students who have yet been taught to type, having them write even one part of a story element took soooooooooooo much time. For example having a child add to a document – “The setting was outside in the rain.” – would take 5-10 minutes to complete.

    Suggestions for improving technology in my classroom would be:
    Educate myself! – Become aware of the various options and how to use those options in the classroom.
    Revamp! – Make the assignment child friendly, and allow the appropriate amount of time to complete.
    Make It Mine! – Create a donor’s choose account for desired technology. This way, it will belong to me and be ready for use even if the school is experiencing a technology shortage.

    • Oh no, wait..see..my name isn’t even on my work. I will surely learn a lot in this course lol.
      I want to delete this and do it again with my name and picture! Who knows how?!!

  35. I feel the biggest problem with technology use is the lack of technology. Most classrooms have one or two computers. We are fortunate that all of our classrooms have E-beams or Smart boards. We have I Pads that can be checked out by classroom teachers. However, the use of technology by students requires a lot of supervision on the part of the teacher as well as instruction on how to use it. Teachers have so much on their plates that this becomes an extra burden instead of a valuable teaching tool. Plus many teachers don’t receive adequate training to feel comfortable using it with their students.

  36. Time, the amount of technology available, and issues with it working are some reasons that I do not use technology more often in my classroom. Part of my school’s improvement plan involves all students using Ticket to Read, a program similar to Raz Kids, and Moby Max, a math program, for 30 minutes each week. I have six laptops, but two are broken, and five iPads. Every student in my room needs an hour a week to meet the school requirement, and it is very difficult to do with limited technology and issues with it working correctly. This gives me less time to use technology in other ways in my classroom. We have a computer lab that we can reserve, so I sometimes take my students there to publish their writing or conduct research.

    Another issue with incorporating technology is that when students are using it during Daily 5 or math workshop, they interrupt small group instruction if it is not working correctly. One way I have tried to solve this problem is by having my class create an anchor chart about what to do when technology is not working. This has helped them to become better problem solvers when it comes to technology issues, but there are some students who still want to let me know first. When the problem is internet access, they get pretty frustrated since they can’t fix it.

    I feel like a lot of the problems could be solved by having more technology and making sure that the technology that we do have is fixed promptly. Being required to use certain programs when the technology doesn’t want to cooperate is frustrating for all involved. I know I am lucky to have as much technology as I do since some of the primary grades only have a couple of desktops and one iPad. We would all be able to use technology is so many more ways, while also meeting the requirements in place, if there was more technology.

  37. My issues are mostly in access and issues. I teach an elective class. I teach 7/8 grade Drama and Speech & Debate. Most of the time I get bumped for use of iPads or labs because the academic classes get priority and of course testing gets priority. I get frustrated with that. I will often just use the phones or devices students bring rather than try and sign up. That limits us those because we really use them mostly for research. I am working on saving money in my drama account to just get a set of 5-7 iPads so I can use them often in groups. Probably a two year plan though. I also hate my signal! I teach in a Black Box theatre. So my wireless signal stinks! Especially is we are all connecting. Another issue is that we do not have onsite tech people. We have floaters who travel between multiple schools. So by the time I email an issue my class is over before someone can come. So I have already rearranged and moved on.

  38. Wow! I hope it’s not TOO late to jump in on this. I went back to review a couple of the videos from Week 1. As I was watching the “Engage Me” video I thought something along the lines of, “Oh crap! I think there was a post that went along with this.” Yep. Anyway…

    A challenge that comes to mind when thinking about using technology to engage learners is “class time.” Many students are familiar with technology and are quick learners. However, I have found that trying to teach the technology to those who are unfamiliar with it takes a tremendous amount of class time. Even when I have simply tried to explain it in class and leave the “learning and doing” to the students, I always seem to have to go back and explain exactly what is required for the assignment. Perhaps it isn’t simply the time factor, maybe it is the gap in students’ levels of comfort and background knowledge related to technology.

    To help with this challenge, there are a couple of easy steps I can take:
    1) Use technologies that don’t present learning challenges (such as discussion boards).
    2) Find online resources that explain the “how to” and print/create easy to follow user guides.

  39. Hi Dr. Kissel

  40. test


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