Struggling with educators’ lack of technology fluency

Confused

It’s 2012. Technology suffuses everything around us. The Internet and Internet browsers have been pretty mainstream for at least a decade.

And yet, I continually run into significant numbers of educators who still don’t know how to work their Internet browser. They struggle with copying and pasting. They get confused just clicking between 2 or 3 different browser tabs. They don’t conceptually understand the difference between their browser’s Google search box and the box where they can actually type in the URL and get there directly. They have no idea that they can right-click on things like hyperlinks or images. And so on… [And this is just the Internet browser. I'm not even talking about individual software programs or online tools.]

What hope do these teachers have of providing meaningful, technology-rich learning experiences for their students? What hope do these leaders have of creating and adequately supporting powerful, technology-rich learning environments for students and staff? Little to none.

Is it even possible to get these educators to where they need to be? How are we going to do what we need to do for our kids when our current levels of technology fluency and understanding are so low?

Can you tell I’m really struggling with this lately?

[Guiding question: What can we do to build the internal capacity of both individual educators and school systems to be better learners and faster change agents?]

Image credit: Shutterstock

[cross-posted at Education Recoded]

82 Responses to “Struggling with educators’ lack of technology fluency”

  1. I’m so greatful for this dicussions and article. I am in reflection as my first year as a tech integrationist comes to an “end”. We have seen great success and some failures. I would like to inspire but some times it just comes down to these are the requirements to teach here(principal) and I am here to help you grow into them( tech integration person). Thanks everyone.

  2. I’m in college, planning toward a career in teaching. I’m a non traditional student, finishing a degree while raising three children, one in each level of school. I decided when my oldest daughter was in 4th grade, I was determined to stay ahead of the technology curve. Not only did I join all of the social networks available at the time, I began blogging, reading tech magazines, and reviews of products and technology before technology was being used in schools. I don’t understand the parent or teacher who sees that technology integration is all around us and still decides to remain in the dark at the very basic level. Like any foreign language, technology is best learned when immersed. I realize that teachers have lives, and throwing another set of rules or guidelines, or new stuff at them is tough, when in most cases, they already devote as much time as they can outside of class to the curriculum they already have to teach, add standardized testing and the common core, and teachers can easily become overwhelmed. One thing I’m determined to remain is “teachable”. I’m a mom, over 40, in college, and I know how to do a great many things that many parents and teachers my age don’t know how to do, just because I made the decision to stay ahead of my kids when it comes to technology. It hasn’t been easy, but if I can do it, anyone can, who really wants to.

  3. Yes…and yes.

    As a young teacher, I can feel your frustration.

    And I think I have an answer to, “Why are so many teachers technologically inept?”

    Three words: lack. of. training.

    I just graduated from teacher’s college. Was I trained to use a SMARTboard? No. Was I introduced to kidblogs? No. Was I shown how to use ipads in the classroom? Again, no.

    I learned all these things on my own, like many of the earlier commenters. I went to my practicum school early every day to tinker with technology.

    In short…

    We teachers are left alone to learn technology, like inmates set adrift on the raging sea on our way to a uninhabited island.

    Why?

  4. What’s even more disturbing is how many people MAKING TECHNOLOGY DECISIONS for districts don’t have a clue (but they know slightly more than the teachers you describe above, so they are considered “experts” by their colleagues — and then make terrible decisions for districts) I have encountered such “Technology Coordinators” and “Technology Specialists” etc. that don’t know things like:

    * What the COPPA act is and why it prevents us from using certain online websites/resources with children.

    * How to check website Terms of Use / Service to see what the age restrictions are (hint: many websites are not allowed to be used by kids under 13. Even if they have parental consent.)

    * What Cloud Computing, streaming video, and the internet in general are and how they work (for example, the fact that it requires significant bandwidth to use Dropbox, YouTube, Khan Academy, etc. — and the school might not have sufficient bandwidth to do so)

    * What Adobe Flash is (many people, if they know at all, think it is “for videos”)

    * What bits and bytes are (and how they relate to bandwidth requirements and storage requirements on devices, in the cloud)

    * What a Chromebook actually is and what makes it different from, say, an ultrabook or netbook.

    Sadly, the above are all NECESSARY for schools and districts to understand, and when they don’t, you end up with wasted tax dollars, wasted learning opportunities, and major headaches… (and then you also get people who don’t know what they are doing being in charge of training the teachers. Is it any wonder there is such a technotarded mess in public education??)

    I mean, even Masters of Educational Technology programs aren’t teaching these bare-bones basics I listed above… so you have people with an M.Ed. wh

  5. even Masters of Educational Technology programs aren’t teaching these bare-bones basics I listed above… so you have people with an M.Ed. who don’t have the basic knowledge and skills necessary to train the teachers, or to make wise decisions regarding technology devices, purchases, and upgrades….

  6. I think I have an answer to, “Why are so many teachers technologically inept?”

    Three words: lack. of. training.

    I just graduated from teacher’s college. Was I trained to use a SMARTboard? No. Was I introduced to kidblogs? No. Was I shown how to use ipads in the classroom? Again, no.

    I learned all these things on my own, like many of the earlier commenters. I went to my practicum school early every day to tinker with technology.

    In short…

    We teachers are left alone to learn technology, like inmates set adrift on the raging sea on our way to a uninhabited island.

  7. Its astounding, seeking within the time and work you place into your weblog and detailed specifics you furnish. Ill bookmark your web site and pay a visit to it weekly for the new posts

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