Teachers want to be confident in their ability
to deliver instruction and monitor learning.
Most strategies and tools used by teachers
were acquired over a “long” period of time
and with the time to test them for success.
Technology changed everything: The number
of choices of tools, the time to learn them
seems diminished due to the number, and the
expectation that “everything” is available.
“In general, low-level technology uses tend to be associated
with teacher-centered practices while high-level uses tend to
be associated with student-centered or constructivist,
practices” (Ertmer 26).
“Full integration of computers into the educational system is
a distant goal unless there is reconciliation between teachers
and computers. To understand how to achieve integration,
we need to study teachers and what makes them use
computers” (Marcinkiewicz as cited by Ertmer 27).
How are today’s teachers supposed to “know”
that technology integration is “essential”?
“Because few current teachers have experienced, or
even observed, the use of technology in their own K12 schooling, they are unlikely to have many
preconceived ideas about how technology should be
used to achieve student learning” (Ertmer 30).
The previous quotes are from an article written in 2005
by Peg Ertmer of Purdue University’s Department of
Curriculum and Instruction. The article examined the
impact of teacher beliefs on technology integration in
the classroom. Although the belief system of a person
is a hard thing to measure, the article drew from
several studies that indicated the reticence on the part
of some teachers to engage fully in technology
integration may be deeply connected to their
According to the Ertmer article as well as Solomon’s
and Schrum’s Web 2.0 How-to for Teachers,
starting small and teaching more efficient ways of
doing what the teacher already does in the classroom is
the best way to help teachers build the confidence
they need to integrate technology into classroom
Peer-mentoring is a great way to start small.
As stated in our assignment, our school does have a few tech-savvy
teachers. They can be annoying with the frequency of the next new find.
However, they are extremely helpful in getting a teacher through the
steps to try something new.
Latest addition is Remind101, which has been around for a while, but it is
catching on with several of the teachers.
The “peer-mentoring” sessions have accomplished much more than the
group presentations that used to suffice for “technology education.”
Most teachers are trying at least one or two things beyond the basics.
We have teachers flipping classrooms, connecting with classrooms in
other states, developing a weebly for students and parents to stay
informed about their classroom, and using Kahn Academy videos to
augment their teaching to help students enhance their learning.
As more teachers try more things, other teachers are attracted to trying
something to help students learn in a more exciting, applicable way.
Peer mentoring or sharing is one method of
professional development, and bringing in an
“expert” to instruct a larger group is another.
Having an ISD technology expert or other field
expert present to a staff often ends in frustration
because the expert tries to present too much to
people who know too little.
This is probably the least effective way to get
buy-in from teachers about technology
Teachers teaching teachers comes full circle
in the full conference format. This type of
professional development can be highly
effective for teachers who have worked
closely one-to-one or in small professional
learning communities. Primed for the ideas
that are presented at a conference, they are
able to pick and choose what will work for
Teachers’ attitudes and beliefs seem to be
changing since the Ertmer article of 2005. To
view the results of the PBS Learning Media
Teacher Technology Usage Survey conducted in
January 2013, visit
As a result of consistent effort by administrators and a few
teachers our school is ready to tackle a full conference.
One of the things that failed miserably early on was the
attempt to present “the bells and whistles” of a 21st century
classroom. Our particular district of teachers reacted by
ignoring what felt like a mountain of information. There was
no place to get a foothold and begin to scale the face of it, let
alone explore its depths.
Fortunately, one of the administrators and three teachers
fully embraced the climb before us. And because of their
patience with the rest of us, we are now trying many things.
Due to the one-on-one mentoring and small group learning communities,
we now have:
Two teachers working on flipping their classrooms; one is a middle school
math teacher and the other an elementary teacher. The middle school
class is almost completely “flipped” (the teacher had to train the
students what to do at home first) and the elementary uses the strategy
within the classroom (students are online learning while the teacher
works with another group). The high school has one math teacher who is
putting her lessons online as well; she is working with one of our ISD’s
tech gurus and receives “private lessons.” She has made amazing
changes in the way she runs her classroom, and the students are
responding in a very positive way—failing grades in Algebra I have
decreased by more than half.
Another change that has occurred because of one-to-one mentoring is
several teachers are now actively seeking new things to try on their own.
Whether it is playing with something like Prezi, Google Forms, or
Glogster (I saw some of the middle school students’ creativity working in
Glogster, and it was wonderful. They presented at one of our Board
meetings, and they were so pleased to share their work), the teachers
are seeking ways to make different assignments, using technology in
much the same way as they would have formerly used paper and pencil.
We are not where we need to be in regard to the level of technology
integration; however, we, as a staff, are now excited and almost getting
“competitive” (which one of us will find the next new tool to try and
Our students are now using their own devices for classroom work
because teachers are becoming less impressed with “technology” and
more determined to creatively use it.
Our school used trained teachers and an administrator to
train the rest of us one at a time. We did not do well with
large group presentations, and not realizing it, it set us back
Now that we have had a lot of small group trainings or oneto-one work, we are going to the MACUL conference in
March 2014 as an entire district. This is going to be a
profound experience (some of us attended last year and
know what the rest are going to see) that will promote and
propel our school into 21st century classrooms and
technology integration that will improve both teaching and
Ertmer, Peggy. “Teacher Pedagogical Beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for
technology integration.” Education Technology Research and Development, Vol. 53
(4). Dec 2005. Retrieved from http://tinyurl.com/kc6lb7n
Solomon, Gwen and Schrum, Lynne. Web 2.0: How-to for Educators. Washington,
DC: International Society for Technology in Education, 2010.
Walker, Andrew. “Integrating Technology and Problem-based Learning: A mixedmethods study of two teacher professional development designs.”
Interdisciplinary Journal of Problem-based Learning, Vol. 5 (2). Sept 2011. Retrieved