With the overwhelming use and availability of technology in teaching and learning, many teachers are still apprehensive about the use of technology in the curriculum. Although there are many influential factors to this uneasiness the digital generation is not discouraged from using technology. They continue to use devices they can access to socialize, shop, and research information. However, teachers’ attitudes and beliefs have continued to impact how students can utilize their skills and knowledge to further develop 21st-century skills. The P21Framework (2015) identifies the skills, knowledge and expertise that students need to master in order to succeed in our technological infused society.
Although there are many barriers to the use of technology, the decision for use in the curriculum is dependent on the individual teacher and their attitude and belief. These are influenced by their individual knowledge, technological competence and perception of how or why students use technology. Although there are many other factors, these two are controllable and can lead to favourable outcomes for teachers and students. In an interview with Kyle Pace, he pointed out the importance of a “collaborative support structure” that will give teachers the confidence they need to use technology in their curriculum (Hetsevich, 2016).
Knowledge and Technology competency
A teacher’s confidence in what they know will affect how they perceive an idea. In order to use technology in a meaningful way to support digital learners, teachers need to feel comfortable and confident. To achieve this good instructional design (Hetsevich, 2016) of how the technology will be used will provide meaningful learning experiences. It is not about mastering the use of a tool, however, it is how the tool can be used to support learning. As teachers increase their knowledge and competency their views will shift and make room for a successful integration.
Perception of student use
Teachers believe that students will use their class time to Facebook, Instagram and engage in other social activities. These distractions coupled with the fear of students being more knowledgeable in the use of tools affect if and how technology is used. With the belief that skill and content knowledge in learning are more important, technology is limited to a reward for work completed (Conley, 2010). With established goals for integration, teachers are able to use these distractions as learning tools to engage learners. 21st-century skills focus on a learner-centered approach to teaching which gives the students more opportunity to collaborate and share ideas with peers and teachers. This gives students ownership in their learning, with the chance for more involvement and a willingness to learn.
Overcoming attitudes and beliefs
In order for students to master the skills and knowledge required for 21st-century learning, teachers need to make the needed adjustment in their attitude and beliefs. Having a good instructional design for technology integration will support teachers’ need for more learning experience opportunities that will influence the needed change. Once a teacher is given the opportunities and support, their individual attitude and beliefs will improve as they buy-in to the meaningful use of technology. A previous blog post identified some of these supports as ways to overcome preconceptions. In the ideal technology enriched classroom, leadership and administration have taken into consideration the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) list of necessary conditions in order to effectively implement technology use.