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Why Teachers are Reluctant to Use Technology

There’s no doubt that education without technology is unthinkable in today’s world, so when we come across teachers who are still reluctant to use technology in the classroom to augment and add to their teaching experience, we wonder why. But if you think a little harder and try to understand why their reluctance comes to the fore, you’ll know that it is because:

  • They are scared of their ignorance: Most teachers, especially the ones who have been in this field for a good number of years, don’t know how to work technology and because of their fear of anything that’s labeled hi-tech, they don’t even try to learn. They prefer to do things the old way because it is familiar and they’re used to it. For them, making a change to something that is totally new is frightening. They fear to even attempt to learn it because they think they will not understand it and that this will cause them to lose face amongst the students and their peers.

  • Kids understand technology better: Children pick up anything easily if they put their minds to it, and so it is with technology. Kids these days have a radar that is intensely tuned into technology and they learn how to do things faster and more efficiently than adults. So when teachers think that the kids are going to know more about technology than them, they feel inadequate and are nervous about looking like fools in front of the children they teach. They fail to have confidence in themselves and let their inadequacies overtake them.

  • Not enough effort goes into training: Most schools impose the technology on teachers without adequately training them to use it. It’s like being thrown into a swimming pool before you’ve learned to swim – you panic and flail and want to rush out before you drown. You fear going near the pool again because you don’t want your mouth and ears full of water before you make it to the edge. But if you learn swimming the proper way, your fear disappears and you get the hang of it. You learn how to breathe underwater and how to float using your limbs, and as time goes by, this becomes routine and something you don’t have to try hard at. Technology is similar – the more training given initially, the more likely it is to be understood and mastered.

  • They don’t realize its advantages: Teachers don’t understand that technology, when used in the right way, can help their work and aid their teaching efforts. It makes their job easier and quicker. But because they don’t realize the advantages that it holds, they turn against it.
If teachers are prepared for technology in the classrooms and given adequate training in using the equipment and various applications, there’s no reason why they should exhibit reluctance to use it to the advantage of the students and themselves.

This guest post is contributed by Shannon Wills, she writes on the topic of Online Engineering Degree. She welcomes your comments at her email id: shannonwills23@gmail.com

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  1. I couldn't agree with you more Shannon. Teachers and technology I have always noticed that the two never see eye to eye. Your first point hit the nail on the head. They are definitely used to their old ways of doing things and are reluctant to learn something new. They definitely wouldn't want a student showing them how to use technology. I think training needs to be implemented because technology is always growing and isn't going away. It's time to keep everyone up to the current day and age we are living in!

  2. Hi,

    You have some valid points there. I think one of the biggest problems is that there isn't enough effort being put into training the people who need to teach our kids ! And because of that, the kids know more about the technology than they do.

    When I did a session about using New Media Technologies in Education at Podcamp Barcelona, I also heard some other concerns :

    If we make a mistake everyone will be able to see / hear it (and more than once if they want).

    That's of course a mentality issue, but as I mentioned at Podcamp Barcelona there should be no reason to be affraid of making mistakes at all. That's actually how we learn things, we sometimes make a mistake and learn from that. That's how we get better at things. When I told them I already made thousands of mistakes in my life, but I am still here some suddenly started to laugh and nod.

    What about copyright ?

    Ok, this is a very valid concern. What about copyright ? Who owns the copyright ? ... All valid questions. But how does it work today ?

    I know a lot of universities / schools which are located next to shops with copy machines where students go every day to copy parts of manuals and other things. So the issue already exists today, but the responsibility is in the hands of the student.

    I'm quite sure that using digital materials for which a 'reasonable' amount is charged could lead to more sales for the people who have a copyright on the material used for education. After all, isn't it better to sell 1000 copies at 1$ than to sell 100 at 10$ and have 90% of the students use the copy machine ?

    It needs to change from the inside !

    Something I noticed personally is that (at least here in Belgium) it is very hard for someone like me to get to places where I could show teachers how to use technology in a classroom environment. For some reason the whole thing is very closed, and somehow you need to be in education in order to change it.

    Anyway, that's just some of my personal experiences. I'm quite fond of the topic of using new technologies for educational purposes, and might consider myself an evangelist on that matter, but apparently it's pretty hard to convince the right people.



  3. Be a little careful in just blaming the teachers, my a primary school teachers in the UK (5-11), would love to use more tech, but the schools either don't have the resourses, or when she tries to implement her own resourses the school/IT DEPT cannot assist or let that tech onto their network. And as previously stated training needs to be implemented, but then again if all the new methods of teaching all those different subjects, were put into practise then they may not have time to do any teaching. Yes that is Tongue in cheek but you get the idea. Apologies fir grammar and typo's I'm typing this on my touch as I'm away from my Mac ;)

  4. Gazmaz,

    You are right in saying that you can't blame the teachers for it all. I know some teachers are very interested in trying these things out, but somehow they don't get the time or opportunity to do it.

    They do have some valid concerns though, and their biggest complaint might be that they were never shown how to use these new technologies for education. Training is indeed a key aspect here.



  5. Hello everyone. I read what everyone had to say about the question of why a lot of people think teachers are reluctant to use technology and I think you are wrong. There are many teachers out there who cannot wait and are screaming to do technology in their class room. In most cases the funding is not there to purchase all of the equipment that is needed. People in the community are already complaining about how much taxes there are for schools already. They do not want to see any more taxes or levies. I am a teacher who is lucky to have some technology in the classroom. I use it every day and think it is great. I am currently taking a master’s program to learn more how to use the technology and there are many more teachers out there doing the same thing. Not everyone is afraid to use technology. You might be looking at the wrong places.


    James L

  6. These are all valid concerns on the part of the teacher being asked to adopt technology. However, shouldn't we as teachers be the most willing of the population to learn/try something new. We ask our students to do so on a regular basis. When we show our excitement and willingness to learn, it is contagious. We understand our learners better because we, ourselves, are learning.

  7. It is indeed very essential to make use of technology in today's classroom as it contributes to the overall learning experience. It is probably high time to reinforce the advantages of using technology through the various teaching certification programs available for aspiring teachers.