Why Teachers Hate Tech Training ... and What to Do about It

Article excerpt

Editor's Note: Do you follow any library or technology listservs? I do. I find pearls of wisdom on them, and some great discussions of issues school library media specialists and technologists deal with. When I read Gail Combs'posting a while back on WWWEDU, in a thread entitled "Why Many Teachers Don't Tech," I was taken by her opinion and her attitude! So I asked her if we could publish her remarks here in the new "Op-Ed" space of MULTIMEDIA & INTERNET @ SCHOOLS. She said sure, so here they are.

If you would like to weigh in on an issue that you feel strongly about, let me know. We have space for you, too!

-David Huffman, hoffmand@infotoday.com

I HAVE stood on all sides of the technology issue (biology teacher, technology facilitator, now library technology specialist), and I have seen some common mistakes that are consistently made by many school districts. I used technology in my classroom for years until I was placed in the technology department for the express purpose of assisting teachers in its use. I have seen why so many teachers abhor tech training and all of its varied applications.

Some of those reasons are:

1. In some school districts, equipment and software are kept current, but the technology training is done in a shotgun fashion where teachers are shown the software at a time it is not necessarily needed. Training that is offered at the "time of need" has proven to be far more beneficial.

2. Like any new skill, practice is always necessary. Most teachers are not given an appropriate amount of time to practice with new software and are expected to remember how an application works 6 months after the actual training. Teachers who are truly effective in the classroom usually have little or no spare time, and they are often not paid for the time they must put into learning new technologies. When so much of a teacher's time is absorbed with federal, state, and local documentation, district-wide paperwork, and after-hours curriculum development, then the only remaining time left for tech practice and development is personal family time. …