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Conference Proceeding

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ASCUE Conference Proceedings




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Difficulty integrating technology into classrooms is a well-known challenge. As early as the 1920’s, radio and film were predicted to be innovations that would change the classroom. In the 1950’s, it was television, in the ‘60s and 70’s teaching machines, and from the ‘80’s to the present, computers. Generally, the teachers who embrace technology are the rare minority, and those who don’t are blamed for the break-down in implementation because they are regarded as showing, “indifference, lethargy, even antagonism, toward this revolutionary means of communication” (Tyack & Cuban 123). But the truth of the matter is “in the top-down process of advocating and implementing technology, teachers [are] rarely consulted, though it [is] mainly their job to make it work in the classroom” (Tyack & Cuban 121). Currently, with the near universal availability of the personal computer, it is hard to understand why many teachers still do not use computers in their classrooms. If the machines are installed in their rooms and the teachers receive training, how is it that computers often go unused other than to reward children for finishing schoolwork early or for good behavior? While working with the teachers employed at The Discovery Institute, I have begun examining how and why some teachers use technology with their students while others don’t, and have found that educating teachers rather than training teachers to use technology and providing the support of a community of learners seems to play a significant factor in whether a teacher will or will not use technology to enhance her or his classroom. Through further interviews and focus group observation, I expect to find that teachers who merely receive training outside a discovery learning experience and without the professional and emotional support of a community of learners will be less likely to effectively use technology in their classrooms.

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