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How Prepared Are Teachers?

A Closer Look into the Lack of Training in Using Technology Devices to Deliver Instruction

Maryam Fischer
EDIT 680 Coastal Carolina University


During my investigation of technology use within the St James attendance area schools within

Horry County Schools, I realized there was a strong trend of teachers feeling ill-prepared on how

to use the devices we were provided with, and expected to use, to assist in delivering our content

in the classroom. I asked several students, teachers, a curriculum specialist, and the IT personnel

who is hired through the district to strictly deal with issues related to the Dell Venues every

student and teacher was provided at St James High School. Through my discussions with them, I

detected a technology deficit in that no one at any level, was provided with enough training on

how to use the actual device, nor were they shown common troubleshooting issues that could

easily be resolved by oneself. Through my investigation in published literature on the topic, I

learned that the St James cluster is not alone in this deficit. This paper investigates the common

issues teachers are facing when asked to implement technology into their instruction, and some

possible solutions to diminish the deficit.


How Prepared Are Teachers?

A Closer Look into the Lack of Training in Using Technology Devices to Deliver Instruction
There is a shift in education from teachers providing direction instruction, to having

students investigate a problem and apply the content being presented to them. Mishra and

Kuehler (2006) discusses how this shift is based largely on implementing technology, which

allows students to see things and create things in ways they have never been able to before.

Most teachers are very willing to incorporate some technology into their current lessons and

ways of teaching, but through my own investigation I found that many of these teachers are

extremely uncomfortable with how to actually use the device they are provided. Teachers are

given many professional development sessions on platforms to use to deliver content, but are

told to “play around” with the actual device to learn how to navigate and solve their own basic

trouble shooting. This paper examines how this deficit in proper instruction of using the actual

technology device spans far further than the school system I currently work in.

Literature Review

With the shift in educational instruction presented in Mishra and Kuehler’s article (2006),

one can agree that teachers need to willing to learn basic applications in technology within their

lessons, to not only improve on their skills as a facilitator, but to also assist in preparing our

students success in life in the 21st century. Although there are many beneficial applications of

technology into lessons, the teachers need to understand and be comfortable with the device

itself. There seems to be a tendency to deliver technology to schools/teachers but not enough

time providing direct instruction on how to use the devices (Mishra and Kuehler, 2006).

Haymore, Sandholtz and Reilly (2004) noted that professional development tends to be directed

at software application rather than on the device itself. This leads to frustrations for teachers

because they are now spending more of their own time on technical issues rather than


Pope, Hare and Howard’s (2002) research shows that by providing professional

development to teachers on how to use and integrate the technology into their teaching methods,

their confidence levels increased which was a direct relation to proper execution of the

technology to improve student mastery of content. If billions of dollars are going to be spent on

providing various devices to teachers, then more needs to be done to support our teachers so that

the “bad” teachers do not wind up having students distracted by the technology on a regular basis

(Richtel, 2011). Most teachers that complete a formal teaching program through a

college/university have an inadequate background in how they can implement technology into

their lessons (Pope, Hare, Howard, 2002). Clearly, teachers have needs that require attention

with the demands that are being placed on them in concern with technology.

Another issue in regards to the deficit in teachers and their basic knowledge on using

technology devices, is that new technologies are arriving or changing faster than teachers can

keep up with (Prensky, 2007). Even teachers that are willing, and passionate about the use of

technologies in their classrooms are finding it extremely difficult to master a device only to find

that it is now outdated. Also, new technologies for education need to stay competitive and

relevant which in turn can cause developers to release technologies before they are fully tested

which can result in several glitches, bugs, and other complications Borko, Whitcomb, Liston,

2009). This causes frustration among teachers which in turn, leads to them not wanting to

implement the technology and losing the belief in themselves to create a tech-integrated lesson

(Spencer, 2012).

One problem that students and teachers alike have found, is they lack the basic training

and understanding to solve simple trouble shooting issues such as recovering a lost file, devices

that do not turn on/off properly, display issues, etc. Jacqui Murray (n.d.) has published a list of

the top 20 reasons that account for around 80% off all device “failures” that can be rectified

simply without taking away valuable instructional time by having a student visit the IT person.

These are the types of professional development that need to be taught when teachers are

presented with a new technology. 50% of K-12 teachers reported that they feel they are not

being trained properly on the technology they are expected to use (Willen, 2014). Many teachers

are simply instructed to use their own time to play around with the devices, but the best advice

they are provided with on “training” is to simply ask your students because they will always

know more about technology than the teachers (Prensky, 2007). Across the board nationally,

there seems to be this disconnect in education and the devices provided due to a lack of training

(Schaffhauser, 2017).


The research conducted was a brief survey given to 27 students, 16 teachers, 1 curriculum

specialist and 1 IT specialist all within St James High School. The following questions were

asked of all participants:

1) How reliable do you feel the Dell Venues are?

2) How comfortable do you feel using your Dell Venue?
3) How comfortable do you feel in trouble shooting when you have an issue with your Dell
4) How prepared did you feel in utilizing the Dell Venue in your lessons/for homework?
5) Do you think we should have used a classroom set or rolled out the individual devices?

According to the results, most people feel that there is a major deficit in the amount of

training provided to use the Dell Venues provided by the school district. Comments worth note

can be read in my paper for Assignment 4 for EDIT 680.


After conducting my own research on the technology used among the St James

attendance area schools and reviewing the literature available, I feel confident making the claim

that this is a nationwide deficit. It seems school districts across the United States are being

pressured to roll out technology to keep up with others, and little thought goes into providing

adequate training for teachers and students alike in the proper use and navigation of the device

itself. I feel that the districts need to provide professional development in not only software that

can be used in the classroom, but sessions should be presented on the device itself as well as

practice going through common problems that occur so loss of valuable instructional time is kept

to a minimum.


Borko, H., Whitcomb, J., & Liston, D. (2009). Wicked Problems and Other Thoughts on Issues

of Technology and Teacher Learning. Journal of Teacher Education, 60(1), 3-7. Doi:

Sage Publications

Mishra, P., & Keohler. M. (2006). Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge: A

Framework for Teacher Knowledge. Teacher College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi:

Columbia University

Murray, J. (n.d.). Solve Those Tricky Classroom Tech Problems. Retrieved November 12. 2017,


Pope, M., Hare, D., & Howard, E. (2002) Technology Integration: Closing the Gap Between

What Preservice Teachers are Taught To Do and What They Can Do. Journal of

Technology and Teacher Education, 10(2), 191-203. Retrieved November 12. 2017.

Prensky, M. (207). Emerging Technologies for Learning (Vol. 2). Coventry, UK: Becta.

Richtel, M. (2011, September 03). In Classroom of Future, Stagnant Scores. Retrieved

November 12. 2017, from


Sandholtz, J.H., &Reilly, B. (2004). Teachers, Not Technicians: Rethinking Technical

Expectations for Teachers. Teacher College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054. doi: Columbia


Schaffhauser, D. (2017, September 18). Biggest Barriers to Digital Learning: Lack of Time,

Lack of Devices. Retrieved November 12. 2017, from

Spencer, J. (2012, July 14). 11 Reasons Teachers Aren’t Using Technology. Retrieved

November 12. 2017, from


Willen, L. (2014, March 13). Where is the technology for teachers? Retrieved

November 12. 2017, from