There have been many challenges, however, to implementing geospatial technologies in K-12 classrooms. These include technical issues pertaining to the interface design of software, time for classroom teachers to learn to use the software, lack of existing basal curriculum materials that integrate geospatial technologies, and lack of time to develop learning experiences that integrate easily into existing school curricula (Meyer et al., 1999; Baker & Bednarz, 2003; Bednarz, 2003; Kerski, 2003; Patterson et al., 2003). While we acknowledge these barriers, new Web-based geospatial tools such as Google Earth and instructional resources integrated with appropriately designed instructional materials show much potential to be used with diverse learners to promote spatial thinking (Bodzin & Cirucci, in press) (p. 2-3).
In education, I believe there is no dispute that technology has a ton of potential to transform our classrooms. All learners can benefit from using simulations, VR, MR and other software to improve student understanding, improve collaboration and eliminate misconceptions students have but how do we ignore the barriers that everyone seems to recognize. Too little teacher training, technical issues, lack of prepared curriculum materials, and lack of time for teachers to both learn and implement these learning experiences. These mitigating factors will continue to affect technology use in the classroom until they are properly addressed.
MET students, colleagues in schools and professional researchers all recognize these issues but no one has found a way to deal with them. MET students are among the educators that want to use technology but struggle to find a way that doesn’t involve countless personal hours and expense. Teachers in all classrooms may agree with the awesome potential technology has but are still required to prepare their students for outdated standardized assessment. There is not time to do both. Finally, how do even proceed with implementing technology in our classrooms in a meaningful way if we do not have the devices, software or bandwidth to move forward.
As a member of my school boards technology development team, I have found these issues continually ignored and pushed to the side. Everyone knows change is needed but our cries fall on the deaf ears of administrators. Frustrating.
Bodzin, A. M., Anastasio, D., & Kulo, V. (2014). Designing Google Earth activities for learning Earth and environmental science. In Teaching science and investigating environmental issues with geospatial technology (pp. 213-232). Springer Netherlands.
All images courtesy of the creative commons.