From UBC Wiki

Go back to One-to-One Home Page

Teacher Technology Reluctance

2254480335 96193318c6 m.jpg

The Promise

4721226997 3dfd3bc4c6 m.jpg The promise offered by technology to the engagement and learning of students is enticing.

"Students will use engaging technologies in collaborative inquiry-based learning

environments with teachers who are willing and able to use technology’s power to

assist them in transforming knowledge and skills into products, solutions, and new

information."(B.J. Nesbitt, 2008) [1]


The Problem

In the mid 1980's scholarly articles began to appear for which the theme was teacher computer anxiety. "Technophobia is the fear or dislike of advanced technology or complex devices." (Technophobia, 2010) [2]Technophobia, according to the wiki, may have first been observed during the industrial revolution.

Fast forward to the first decade of the 21st century and no longer is the education system concerned with computer anxiety but due to the plethora of available learning devices, the concern is now labelled technology anxiety.

2898492339 86f0434355 m.jpg

Since the beginning of formal education, the introduction of and challenge to purposefully use technology has been ongoing. The introduction of the opaque projector (episcope), film projector, phonograph, radio, television, tape recorder, calculator, overhead, Walkman, VCR, computer, DVD, have all brought with them challenges. For the teacher the challenges have been not only in learning how to operate new devices but how to then incorporate them meaningfully in curriculum delivery.

In the 1990's teachers often voiced concerns about the intent of technology. Many believed that computers were going to replace teachers in the classroom. "Any teacher that can be replaced by technology deserves to be." (David Thornburg, 2008) Preparing Students for Today's Future "Forget the future: Its the present that concerns me." [3] As we enter the second decade of the 21st century perhaps all educators will believe that teachers will be enhanced by technology.

In today's schools, integrating technology is not only a high priority but is receiving large percentages of money from all ready stretched budgets. It is realized now that technology integration is much more than the use of technology to deliver curriculum. The integration of technology must show result in the quality and depth of understanding of the students. In many classrooms the integration of technology is seldom if ever present. Why is this?

Do some educators not believe that technology has a vital role to play in education today?

Are some educators lacking the skill to incorporate technology successfully from a mechanical and/or pedagogical deficit?

The Purpose

John Cotton Dana was a librarian in Newark, New Jersey. He composed what became the then Newark State College motto.

"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn."(John Cotton Dana, 1912). John Cotton Dana [1]

3313651183 935f04b711 s.jpeg A Vision of 21st Century Teachers

Individuals become teachers for a variety of reasons. Some wish to be a positive and nurturing influence on the next generation. Others enjoy the performance aspect of teaching while still others come to the profession by default. What is known is that over 30% of new teachers leave the profession within the first three to five years, (Gonzalez, Brown, & Slate, 2008),. [4] Why do teachers leave the profession? Many reasons are given from stress to poor pay. Will the push to include technology in to learning activities add to the pressures?

The following video is very powerful and humorous. If the viewer is a teacher, Immediately he or she wishes to show the video to colleagues. Then, the viewer begins to consider those colleagues to whom the video could not be shown. When I Become a Teacher

The Professional Product

"In many schools, the failure to fund and design robust professional development leads to "the screensavers’ disease" — the educational equivalent of an accountant’s red ink — as hundreds of computers sit idly glowing throughout the day and the district’s investment proves a huge waste of funds." (McKenzie, 2001). [5]

What is needed to ensure that technology is infused into education in a purposeful and effective way?

McKenzie (1999) states, “Little has been done to prepare reluctant technology users for the networked computers flooding into their rooms. Technology reluctant teachers have special needs, interests and learning styles that must be addressed with respect and ingenuity if we expect to see such teachers embrace the new technologies being placed in their classroom." McKenzie believes that reluctant teachers will require a sustained annual commitment of of adult learning experiences. [6]

“ If we shift school cultures to support adult learning, then professional development is experienced as a personal journey of growth and discovery that engages the learner on a daily basis. In the best cases, adult learning includes an emphasis upon self-direction, transformation and experience. One learns by doing and exploring…by trying, by failing, by changing and adapting strategies and by overcoming obstacles after many trials. One learns by teaming-sharing failures and successes as well as tricks and techniques that work. This approach to supporting teachers may actually generate a change in how classroom learning occurs” (McKenzie, 2003). [7]

Tenbusch (1998) states “Like students, teachers learn at different rates and have specific needs when it comes to acquiring new information and mastering new skills.” He goes on to explain that a successful professional development program in technology focuses on skill-building and gives teachers incentives to devote the time and energy needed to use computer technology. Such a program provides (1) intensive training in which teachers explore new ideas and materials over several sessions; (2) follow-up consultation with mentors over an extended time period as teachers implement new practices; (3) ongoing reflective conversation with colleagues doing the same job and implementing similar technology applications; and (4) observation of other teachers using exemplary techniques for incorporating technology in the classroom (Tenbusch, 1998). [8]

Friesen, (2007), identifies three barriers to technology infusion:[9]

1. Isolation

2. Lack of training

3. Lack of time

The Ponder

"First Assumption: Kids know more about technology than the teachers. We do not have to deal with technology since they know all about it.

Second Assumption: As an educator, if I can do PowerPoint presentations, I am effectively integrating technology into education.

Third Assumption: Colleges will turn out students to become teachers with a complete understanding of technology and education integration.

Fourth Assumption: Senior teachers will never change; they are burnouts and will never take the time to learn new things.

Fifth Assumption: Administrators do not need to go through Professional Development. It is geared to teachers and not Administrators.

Sixth Assumption: If we teach every bell and whistle in an application, teachers will see its worth and make it work in their class.

The biggest assumption:

If I teach the way I learned, they will get it. We don’t need this technology stuff. If it was good enough for me it will be good enough for them." (Whitby, 2010) [10]

Report Card


Move on to Potential

Go back to One-to-One Home Page


  1. Nesbitt, BJ. (Producer). (2008). A Vision of k-12 students. [Web]. Retrieved from
  2. Technophobia. Wikipedia. Retrieved (2010, June 21) from
  3. Thornburg, D. (2008, August 06). Forget the future, it's the present that concerns me: preparing students for today's world. Retrieved from
  4. Gonzalez, L, Brown, M S, & Slate, J R. (2008). Teachers who left the teaching profession: a qualitative understanding. The Qualitative Report, 13(1), Retrieved from
  5. McKenzie, J. (2001). How Teachers learn technology best. From Now On: The Educational Technology Journal, 10(6), Retrieved from
  6. McKenzie, J. (1999). Reaching the reluctant teacher. Retrieved June 23, 2010 from
  7. McKenzie, J. (2003). Stories of adult learning. The Educational Technology Journal. Retrieved June 24, 2010 from
  8. Tenbusch, J.P. (1998). Teaching the teachers: Technology staff development that works. Electronic School [Online]. Available
  9. Friesen, J. (2002). Support and train teachers for success with classroom technology. Retrieved June 24, 2010 from
  10. Whitby, T. (2010, June 18). My Island view: educational, disconnected utterances:tech org reorg. Retrieved from