I chose to study a Masters in Knowledge Networks and Digital Innovation largely because I felt that I needed a focus to encourage me to integrate technology creatively into my practice. Schools are intense, busy places where ingrained practice is common and can be very hard to change, even for those of us working towards improved integration. Time pressures can easily push us backwards and progression forward can seem very challenging and it can be hard to convince reluctant colleagues that integration of technology is a good thing, particularly if they feel that things are working well without it. Educators need to see the benefits, or relative advantage of using technology in order to invest time and effort into change (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 67).

Implementing a pedagogical shift and innovative use of technology in schools is a slow process. As Bigum notes, use of technology is often a substitute for existing practice, with little innovation (2012). We respond rather than lead and embrace change. Schools are often insulated from the real world and as such it can be difficult to investigate and incorporate the skills students will need for their future. As indicated by Roblyer and Doering, an increased understanding of the benefits and limitations of technology use in schools is desperately needed to support today’s learners prepare for an increasingly digital world of work (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, 20). In order to progress, it is critical that we move on from fears about technology, teach our students responsible use and allow our students flexibility to engage with technology (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 23). Twining, Raffaghelli, Albion and Knezek recommend a mindset shift; educators must consider that teaching is no longer effective without technology (2013).

Roblyer and Doering discuss concerns about the costs that many schools have undertaken with the existing one-one model. BYOD appears to be a more viable cost saving option for future educational technology hardware, however schools need to invest time and infrastructure to ensure that an appropriate range of devices are enabled and provisions for students with learning or financial needs are catered for (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, pp. 27-28). The school where I will work this year requires students to supply an iPad. Although limiting in some respects, this model is a cost effective option in regards to infrastructure and may be easier for teachers to integrate technology consistently. I am looking forward to evaluating this model in action this year.

These shifts in thinking cannot come about without a planned whole school program to implement and support the integration of technology (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 33). This must also incorporate structures to support teachers’ professional learning and on the job reinforcement of new skills and pedagogy (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 78), through formal professional learning, mentoring, team teaching and knowledge sharing (Roblyer & Doering, 2014, p. 402). Critically important also is that learning through experimentation and failure is embraced in order to move forward. Personally, I have chosen to work in my new college environment as college leadership already work with this paradigm; learning through failure is encouraged for staff and students; technology is embraced for its wealth of possibilities and investment has been made for infrastructure and professional learning to lead educational change.

References

Bigum, C. (2012). Transformative approaches to new technologies and student diversity in futures oriented classrooms. In L. Rowan, & C. Bigum, Schools and Computers: Tales of a Digital Romance. Retrieved from http://site.ebrary.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/docDetail.action?docID=10524693

Roblyer, M. D., & Doering, A. H. (2014). Integrating educational technology into teaching: international edition, 6th edition. Harlow: Pearson.

Twining, P, Raffaghelli, J. Albion, P. & Knezek, D. (2013, August 5). Moving education into the digital age: the contribution of teachers’ professional development. Journal of Computer Assisted LearningVolume 29, Issue 5. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jcal.12031/pdf