ICT – to use or not to use?*

For this research journal I am going to look at the factors affecting teachers’ use of ICT in the classroom. By ‘use’ I specifically mean integrating ICT into meaningful learning events, not the use of ICT in researching lesson ideas, finding and preparing resources  or administration. I chose this topic for two reasons: firstly, I am interested in why, despite the growing importance of ICT in everyday life (and the accompanying need to educate students in the effective and safe use of ICT), many teachers choose not to use ICT in their classroom. Secondly, I would like to create a framework in order to reflect on my own use of ICT in the classroom. I hope that by having a greater understanding of why other teachers use/don’t use ICT in the classroom, I can make informed decisions about my own teaching practice and perhaps stop myself from falling into a ‘business as usual’ approach to (not) using ICT in an integrated and meaningful way.

So, in order to find out why many teachers choose not to use ICT, I looked for some information that would summarise the common arguments against ICT, especially from currently practicing teachers. On reading this blog by Peter Kent, which outlines some arguments he has heard as an educator and as laid out in his book Teaching with ICT, I began to classify the main arguments against ICT into 3 main categories: physical limitations, knowledge limitations, and pedagogical/philosophical limitations.

Physical limitations include reliability, and ICT “that doesn’t always work and it needs to” (Kent, 2011). My own experiences in schools suggests that access and affordability are also issues, but for this research journal I am more interested in the behaviour of teachers who have technology available to them and choose not to use it. Knowledge limitations include both lack of knowledge of ICT and how to use it, as well as not being aware of or fully understanding the research surrounding ICT and education outcomes. Pedagogical limitations are related to how teachers view learning, and if they believe students learn better or worse with ICT. Similarly, philosophical limitations relate to teachers’ beliefs, specifically if they think it is the role of educators to offer students ICT rich experiences.

I am going to use these categories to explore the issues surrounding use/non-use of ICT in the classroom in coming posts.

* Many apologies to the Bard and any readers for my truly appalling pun.

Kent, P. (2010, September 12). I don’t need to use ICT in my teaching [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://practicalinteractivity.edublogs.org/2010/09/12/i-don’t-need-to-use-ict-in-my-teaching/

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