Technology Implementation in Schools: Key Factors to Consider New technologies have changed teaching and learning in a number of ways—from graphing calculators to online lesson plans to virtual field trips and simulated dissections, educational technologies can help students access content in new and often exciting ways. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a single school that doesn’t have access to some kind of educational technology. According to surveys, as many as 95% of schools are connected to the Internet; even at the level of the individual classroom, connection is nearly as universal—close to 75% of classrooms in the United States have Internet access (CEO Forum, 2000). Despite this nearly ubiquitous access to computer technology, however, there is a significant gap between the presence of technology and its usage in the classroom. While some type of technology is present in nearly every classroom in the country, it is rarely used to its fullest potential (Royer, 2002). Some of this discrepancy is due to a lack of comfort with using technology for teaching and learning. Even teachers who are using technology and report a high degree of comfort with technology tend to use it in fairly rigid ways, such as searching for activities to use with students, communicating with other teachers, and word processing (Price, Cates, & Bodzin, 2002). And while students frequently do use computers in the classroom, use is often limited to information gathering and word processing rather than using multimedia tools or digital content to design and create products (Price et al., 2002). Often, learning with technology is teacher-centered rather than student-centered. While many teachers still feel uncomfortable using technology in their teaching practice, it is also likely that teachers feel new technologies are unproven in the classroom (Royer, 2002). Though there has been a great deal of research on the efficacy of technology tools for teaching and learning, many of these studies may not translate well to the reality of the classroom (Wallace, Blase, Fixsen, & Naoom, 2007). According to the stages of implementation discussed in the companion Research in Brief article, Understanding the Design, schools may find themselves stuck in a series of initial implementation efforts, trying one thing after another, and not achieving full implementation of a program. Even high-quality training, if used in isolation, is not sufficient to lead to full-scale implementation of technology; for true technology integration, teachers need to do more than simply learn about a new technology tool (Wallace et al., 2007). If schools want teachers to use technology to enhance student learning, then it is important to address these issues. Teachers are inundated with new initiatives every year; new ideas come and go and are rarely sustainable (Zorfass, 2001). To avoid "initiative fatigue," schools must focus not only on introducing new technology, but also on implementing and scaling up new technologies. While every school is different, with different needs and resources, there are several factors that facilitate technology implementation and can help address the challenges mentioned above, making your school’s change efforts more successful. Research on educational interventions (Abbot, Greenwood, Buzhardt, & Tapia, 2006; Billig, Sherry, & Havelock, 2005; Blumenfeld, 2000; Ely, 1990; Elmore, 1996; Ertmer, 2005; Glazer, Hannafin, & Song, 2005; Price et al., 2002; Royer, 2002; Staples, Pugach, & Himes, 2005; Zorfass, 2001) has shown the following factors to be instrumental in implementing school-wide change: * Professional development
* Organization and school structure
* Resources and support
Factors that facilitate implementation will play a role in every stage of the intervention, from the initial planning and exploration phases to helping to sustain the intervention once fully...
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