Issues in Education Technology Adoption: Overcoming the Stall Points; Educators Speak
Byline: Dr. Theresita V. Atienza, PUP
DURING the last two decades, the world has seen substantial growth in education and training. Educational institutions are presently confronted by rapid technological changes and shifts in educational paradigms. Distance learning is steadily gaining significance and the eventual massive digitization of teaching and learning is no longer remote. However, there is an escalating awareness that our educational systems are facing inordinate difficulties in trying to meet the needs of a changing and increasingly technological society.
There are many reservations regarding the benefits of technology and the changes that the adoption of technology necessitates, such as instructional management issues, teacher professional development, and demand for technical support. The educational reform movement is forcing changes in many pedagogical practices. The early technological adopters among our educators and universities are recognizing the effectiveness of emerging technologies in instituting new goals and executing innovative pedagogical methods. Technology has now altered how people access, gather, analyze, present, transmit, and create information. Todays technologies provide the goals, applications, and processes that empower individuals of our information society. The belief among many educators that computer-and-communications networking can be employed productively to support and enable needed reforms in education is gaining ground. New information technologies can give teachers and students more power in the classroom. Advances in scientific developments, telecommunications, information processing, and dissemination technologies are accelerating knowledge generation and acquisition.
Innovation and Reforms in Education
Latham, in his book The Birth and Death Cycles of Educational Innovations, stated that the typical innovation is born in a moment of great interest, is soon implemented and peaks in about a year and a half. This peak is then followed by a decline in enthusiasm and the innovation dies about four (4) years from the time that interest in it was first generated. This follows the Scurve engendered by the technology life cycle. What is more interesting about Lathams work is the revelation of common characteristics that seem to explain why innovations fail: (1) Practitioners are disenchanted because the innovation is more difficult than expected and it causes too much change and takes too much time; (2) Innovation supporters depart; (3) Personnel lack training and enthusiasm; (4) Funds run out; (5) There is inadequate supervision; (6) There is no accountability; (7) There is a take-it-or-leave-it attitude; (8) And/or there are no consequences for termination (Latham, 1988).
These may exactly be the same reasons why the diffusion and adoption of technology in education is taking so long.
Extreme social, political, economic, and technological changes characterize the past decades, but schools have not changed their basic organizational structure. We are currently in the post-industrial era Bells information age, Tofflers third wave a knowledge-based economy, in which change continuously takes place at all levels of society. A recognition that past curriculum and methodology are no longer suitable for the information age calls for reforms in our education system. Restructuring our schools demand changes in the way the schools function. It involves what goes on within classrooms rethinking the way teachers teach, the way students learn, and the way we evaluate them. Likewise, it includes a change in the way schools are organized. Reorganization requires redefining the roles of administrators, teachers, parents, and students in the administration and management of schools. Computer technologies are changing the teachers role from information giver to facilitator, counselor, advisor, guide, coach, co-learner, mentor, resource and technology managers and mediator to the students. …