Why Some K-12 Teachers Still Struggle With Edtech
Over the last two decades, edtech has seemingly taken over K-12 education. Some teachers have chosen to embrace edtech, while others are on the fence, and the rest are apathetic to its use. K-12 teachers account for a large proportion of the educators who, though they appreciate the value of edtech, do not use it to teach. So why is there such apathy or resistance toward edtech in some K-12 classrooms? Why do we have so many anti-tech teachers?
One key reason is the power of tradition. The time-honored dynamic of the teacher sharing their wisdom with a classroom of students, engaging with them, and motivating them to be the best that they can be remains at the heart of K-12. This model has its obvious strengths as it fosters a human relationship between educator and student while the former imparts their expertise. However, edtech can help them over away from this teacher-centered approach to a student-centered one. In the student-centered approach to education, the teacher serves as a guide who facilitates the learning process, instead of seeking to control it.
Anti-tech teachers worry that edtech and artificial intelligence are going to put them out of business. This is not the case. Edtech is not a replacement for human educators. When used effectively, it is, instead, a complement to these educators’ existing practices. For instance, while you are teaching a new lesson to advanced students, you could use adaptive learning or artificial intelligence to tutor students who didn’t quite grasp your previous lesson. In this way, edtech is a helper and not a replacement.
Another reason why teachers still struggle with edtech is a lack of training. Older generations of educators did not receive any training on edtech when they were in their teacher education programs quite simply because edtech was not around at that time. But even in the present day, there is a dearth of training on edtech – both in the form of ongoing training for veteran teachers and in initial training for qualifying professionals. In sum: teachers still struggle with edtech because they don’t know the full range of edtech that is out there, and they also don’t always know how to use it properly.
It’s time for teachers to shake off their fear of edtech and, supported by a robust IT department, to start to harness its benefits. As this summary shows, edtech has numerous advantages for K-12, regarding boosting academic achievement and closing the achievement gap.
What do you think about teachers who refuse to embrace technology? Have you found a way to overcome the problem of anti-tech teachers? If so, tell us how you did it.