The degree in which technology integration progresses into classrooms depends on the motivation of four school groups; Students, Teachers, Administrators, and Colleges.
"New Technologies in Education will fail without a change in the way of teaching."
The best news is that students are already very eager to use technology in their classrooms. The simplest manner to use technology is to just substitute it for another tool, like using computers instead of writing with pen and paper. Even this rudimentary style of using old things in old ways encourages students to write better. I take this as a sign that students would really perform if given imaginative and innovative lessons to encourage their creativity. Our students live and play in the 21st century, so they deserve to be taught accordingly.
How can teachers ensure their pedagogy keeps up with 21st century students? They mostly just need training and time to learn it. Almost all teachers realize that motivated learners help inspire fulfilling teaching. However, most teachers are technology immigrants and their students technology natives. Many teachers, like most people, are reluctant or even intimidated to leave their comfort zone. Often teachers become aware of the potential for technology through a dazzling in-service presentation, only to have little time to further learn and apply the newly introduced technology.
Supportive and encouraging administrators who are knowledgeable in the benefits of technology integration could facilitate 21st century teaching in their schools. However, often they are profound technology immigrants, and are too overwhelmed or enamored with other initiatives. There are tech integration programs available that have proven to be effective. An genuine 21st century school provides an environment where teachers are willing to take some risks. Working together admin and teachers would realize that neither teachers nor admin need to be tech experts, but to just give their student tech natives a little incentive and let them roll with it.
Finally, colleges can have a duel role in ensuring 21st century teaching in the 21st century. First, they can educate new and existing teachers and administrators. I am so glad for my opportunity to participate in COETAIL, and initially mostly did so because it would contribute 15 credits toward a Masters degree. I propose there should be a separate program for admin, possibly ACOETAIL (Administrator Conference Of Educational Technology and Information Literacy). It could be a week long conference where they could at least have limited exposure and experience with existing ed tech. This would increase admin tech awareness, admin then would be motivated to encourage teachers to enter the certificate program, and eventually apply what they learned in their schools.
The second role of colleges involves the carrot they dangle in front of HS students – college admission requirements. Colleges have become more mindful of the digital footprints of prospective students. However, many colleges still have an imbalance of importance between test scores/grades, and technology skills in their decision process. Companies and organizations are interested in hiring problem solvers that can use modern tools. Colleges need to become more in tune with matching those needs with demonstrated student strengths.