Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Implications for Teaching and Learning of Adults

An “Attitude Adjustment”

Educators know that it is virtually impossible to make someone learn something if they do not have a willingness and openness to the learning. We’ve all probably used the old cliché: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it, when reflecting upon the attitudes of certain resistant students. In a nutshell, attitude is everything.

Why would this be any different for teaching adults about technology? Can it be expected of teachers to embrace and learn new technologies just because they have been told to do so? If we try hard to make meaningful and relevant connections to our students’ lives in our teaching, we should be doing the same for teachers with how we deliver professional development. A “one-size-fits-all” approach simply will not be successful. "Technology use by teachers is strongly influenced by their own attitudes towards that technology..." (Becker, 2007).

Kadijevich’s research (2006) found that of the three factors which affect technology use in teachers (interest, support and attitude), the one factor which needs to be focused upon the most, is developing attitude. Computer attitude is crucial in motivating teachers’ intentions to use the technology. This is affected by how the teacher perceives the “usefulness” of computer technology.

Kadijevich found that a positive computer attitude may be developed through interactions and cooperation between inexperienced and experienced users of technology, through mentorship, that promote a teachers’ understanding of why, when and how to use technology.

He also stated that teacher development should be continuous, thus, not sporadic and without follow-up. When the use of educational technology is made more personal, teachers will maintain the use of the technology.

Asselin’s research (2005) maintains similar findings: teachers require mentorship and collaboration in order to support information literacy.

Based on these findings, I suggest that partnerships be set up with teachers, between experienced and inexperienced users of technology. Preferably, these partnerships could be formed within subject-specific departments. This way, teachers could approach the use of the technology with common goals and desired outcomes in their subject area which would not happen as easily with teacher-partnerships which are spread out across various disciplines. Regular, on-going meeting times for would need to occur in order to sustain development. Once every two weeks would be ideal.

Teaching teachers to use technology needs to be done so in a way which is: fun and motivating; personalized and practical; supportive and sustained over time.


Asselin, M. (2005). Teaching information skills in the information age: An examination of trends. School Libraries Worldwide, 11(1). (ProQuest)

Becker, K. (2007). Digital game-based learning once removed: Teaching teachers. British journal of educational technology, 38(3), p. 478-488.

Kadijevich, D. (2006).
Achieving educational technology standards: The relationship between student teacher's interest and institutional support offered. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 22. p. 437-443

1 comment:

elizabeth said...

Kadejevich's findings about attitude are so significant when it comes to professional development with technology. I think pairing experienced teachers with those who are ready and interested in learning would be effective. It is also so important to focus on meeting outcomes rather than simply using technology to address the attitude of "I dont have time for something new".