The 11 barriers to technology adoption

The use of computer technology in schools has had a major impact on education over the years, but K-12 hasn’t completely abandoned paper and textbooks. The much anticipated edtech transformation has not quite come to pass. So here are 11 barriers to technology integration in public education.

Barrier #1: Lack of vision. Educators should look outside their own small part of the world and see that the future is here.

Barrier #2: Lack of leadership. When a superintendent or principal says, “Teachers, we are going to use technology in our school, but you decide how and when,” they have assured that educators won’t adopt this technology. It takes leadership to say, “Teachers, we are going to use technology in our school—and this is not optional.”

Barrier #3: Lack of money. Regardless of available funding, school administrators will find ways to pay for important initiatives. These leaders must realize that the use of computer technology in schools is crucial (see barrier #1).

Related: 4 common technology adoption barriers

Barriers #4-6: Curriculum. Finding curricula that correspond with digital initiatives presents multiple barriers to technology integration.

When “new math” came into classrooms in the late 1970s, teachers received professionally generated curriculum materials. Likewise, the introduction of graphing calculators in the 1990s came with Texas Instruments and educational resources.

After the shift to 1-to-1 and BYOD, administrators can’t expect to succeed if teachers generate instructional resources. Educators need to focus on teaching.

As a district’s digital materials and textbooks can be costly, administrators can also take advantage of open education resources.

Barrier #7: K-12’s infrastructure needs refurbishing. Providing robust Wi-Fi to support 1-to-1 will improve learning. Some telecommunications companies cooperate with schools and some don’t, which can cause complications.

Barrier #8: Educators need to rethink professional development. PD shouldn’t consist of random workshops or lectures that teachers must sit through on specific PD days. Rather, just as professionals in other industries constantly hone their skills, PD needs to take place often and focus on helping teachers adopt essential 1-to-1 technology.

Barrier #9: Parent resistance. Some parents see technology as irrelevant or disruptive. Schools can solve this through communication.

Barrier #10: It takes time to change. Student achievement may not go up after eight weeks of technology use; in fact, it probably won’t. Patience will help schools overcome this barrier.

Barrier #11: Assessment. Empirical evidence clearly shows that when schools use technology appropriately— and as an essential tool for teaching and learning—student achievement experiences a significant boost. See barrier #9.

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