The ABC of ELT

4 Issues That Hold Me Back From Using Technology in the Classroom

One of my favourite podcasts (out of school) is coming to an end after five years. They covered using technology in education with an emphasis on iPad (though not exclusively). This has covered some great topics like education theory, cool iPad apps, infrastructure issues and the challenges of working in education.

This often inspired me to use smart devices more in my classes but there are some issues which really hold me back.

We’re not allowed to let kids use their devices

This is one of my toughest challenges. We are not allowed to let young learner (or teenager) students use their own devices on classes. I’m assuming there are lots of reasons for this such as issues of exclusion of students who don’t have a device, the risk of harming their devices or whatever.

Luckily, we have a set of iPads that can be used in classes…except.

Our school iPads are out of date (and can’t be updated)

We have a total of 12 school iPads. This is enough for one class and at some moments we have nine classes on the go at the moment. So there’s competition for these 12 ipad fourth generation devices. Unfortunately they are stuck on iOS 7 with some apps that no longer work and even worse, there is no way to request an update or a new app. The person in charge is unknown and no one knows who has permission to edit these devices. So they are stuck as they are until they become useless. (Let’s not even mention the security issues which they are exposed to).

Off-site classes have limited/ no access to school devices

Some of our classes are offsite, this makes it much harder to take these school devices along. We can, but it makes you only want to bring three or four due to their weight (and the risk of taking devices along).

Not to mention that taking them off site means that other people can’t use the devices till they have been returned (something which can be done quicker on-site).

Oh and we don’t have access to their WiFi at these sites.

Practical issues with students own devices

Finally, with adults there can be practical issues with their own devices. This is usually running out of battery power at the end of the day, but there can be some others like broken screens or older devices.

How can we usefully implement technology?

I’m not going to debate the merits/demerits of these issues. I don’t see many/any of them changing any time soon (I really doubt we’ll get a new set of iPads in light of the current issues we have). Instead I still try and find ways to help students use the limited apps we can still use or highlight apps that students can use even if they can’t use them in class.

About Chris Wilson

I'm an English Language teacher based in Krakow, Poland. I enjoy writing, using technology and playing the Ukulele.

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