Educating the Educators

Now that we have established some concrete ways you could potentially integrate technology into physical education, it is time to discuss the people who will be doing the integrating – the teachers. Studies have categorized two factors that influence teachers’ readiness for technology integration.  The first factor comes down to the accessibility of technology resources provided by the school or school board.  With lack of resources, budget, inadequate administration support, or excessively large class sizes result in being the most significant barrier.  However, the second barrier happens within thyself of the teacher.  With the integration of technology, a teacher’s prior knowledge, skills, pedagogical beliefs, and attitudes become internal obstacles if they do not see the correlation between the two subjects. Similarly, studies have shown that most teachers do not feel comfortable working with and utilizing technology in their PE classrooms. 

A study was done to gather information on how confident teachers feel using different types of physical activity technologies such as heart rate monitors, accelerometers, sports based simulators, exergames, and more in their classrooms and 85% of teachers rated themselves unready to utilize these technologies in the classroom because of lack of technological proficiency.  This study showed us the teachers feel inadequately prepared to use technology in both PE as well as their regular classrooms; however, it also shows us that more than 80% of teachers believe that technology should be included in student teaching, faculty should be required to attend technology training sessions, technology expectations should be mentioned in the syllabus, and students should be assessed on their use of technology. This is displayed multiple times throughout this study, and there are various charts and graphs about the information, but I have included one chart below for you to quickly look at to see teachers beliefs about technology.

With this kind of mindset, fear, and lack of knowledge, it is almost impossible for teachers to integrate technology effectively. As a result, we thought it would be interesting and beneficial to look into how to educate teachers on incorporating technology. 

In an article by Baert,  suggestions were made for how we can better equip staff with the knowledge and tools they need to utilize technology in their classrooms. One suggestion the article makes is creating a clear vision of what technology integration is and why we do it. This means that all faculty members would have a clear understanding of why technology can assist in providing quality instruction in PE and would have a clear vision of what this looks like through, “modelling, reflection, and collaboration.” (Baert, 2011). Next, this article suggests implementing a technology course for teachers to take so they can gain the basic skills and knowledge needed to incorporate different tools in their classes. They then suggest taking it even further by incorporating various workshops for teachers over the years to help keep them up to date with new technologies, sharpen their current knowledge, and help them learn how to incorporate technology effectively. It is important to note, however, that these courses are not sufficient and teachers need exposure in other ways and further support. This is when the article recommends having technology labs where teachers get to practice working with different technological tools, close collaboration amongst PE teachers who are mentors for pre-service teachers as they may not have much experience with technology either, and support within the school for when teachers need it. These ideas are some of the suggestions made for helping educate teachers on incorporating technology.

 

xoxo missrose & mickybecks

 

Header photo by Mr. Bochelly on Unsplash

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