The 21st century commands that technology and teaching be synchronous. Language Arts teachers especially have been encouraged to incorporate a slew of technologies in an effort to increase skills for various reading and writing standards. The stress of raising achievement through the assessment of standardized tests have led districts to find avenues in technology to increase their abilities to collect data on student achievement as well as to bolster the effectiveness of classroom instruction. Language arts curriculums have changed in recent decades to include new forms of literacy that essentially require the use of technology by teachers and students. Digital literacy, as described by Roblyer and Doering (2013), is the need for today’s students to not only understand text of a variety of genres and formats but to understand the devices and technologies used to house them. This requirement is in a continued effort to increase informational literacy. Informational literacy can be described as a skill set students use when doing research for projects and papers (Roblyer and Doering, 2013).
Robyler and Doering (2013) relate the opinions of experts who “agree that adequate funding can determine the success or failure of even the best technology plans” and therefore must implement strategies for “optimizing available funds.” However, too often schools focus their attention on purchasing the technologies or licenses to use technology and fail to reserve funding for proper training. Burns (2010) summarizes a report from Walden University which determined: “Despite access to technology and despite the fact that novice teachers are entering the classroom with far more advanced technology skills than their counterparts of an earlier age, only 39 percent of teachers report ‘moderate’ or ‘frequent’ use of technology as an instructional tool.” Burns (2010) goes on to discuss findings by the NEA that teachers feel “that the instruction they receive in technology integration, whether online or face-to-face, is still too focused on learning how to use the software versus integrating it into the teaching and learning process.” Burns (2010) suggests that what teacher technology trainings lack is the emphasis on integration into the classroom. Though teachers are trained on the equipment and software they are being asked to incorporate into the classroom, they are not being trained or provided time to properly plan and coordinate with their colleagues
Schools might consider reevaluating their strategies when attempting to incorporate new technologies. To receive the highest level of relative advantage, it might behoove schools to consider less technology. When creating interventions to raise scores within the language arts classrooms, cooperative planning days for their language arts teachers should be considered rather than new technologies. Teachers can design ways to utilize current technologies or even research free resources that can be used online.
Burns, M. (2010, September). elearn Magazine: How to Help Teachers Use Technology in the Classroom. Retrieved April 18, 2013, from http://elearnmag.acm.org/featured.cfm?aid=1865476
Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2013). Integrating educational technology into teaching. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon Publishers.