Barriers to Getting Educators Online, by Denise Ethier and Jennifer Gold
After funding and access, lack of adequately trained staff and lack of teacher awareness regarding ways of integrating telecommunications into the curriculum are considered to be the next barriers affecting the acquisition or use of telecommunications in the schools (National Center for Education Statistics, 1995). In a 1993 survey of educators who use telecommunications, researchers at the Center for Children and Technology (CCT) in New York found that while telecommunications was considered valuable by the surveyed group of educators who were experienced and knowledgeable about computer technology, it was not determined how telecommunications would be perceived by educators who may be less technology-savvy. In order to develop capacity for telecommunications use, CCT researchers recommend that schools and districts get involved in training and that "at a minimum, the same level of investment that schools and districts have made in computer-based training needs to be present for training teachers in the use of telecommunications." (Honey & Henriquez, 1993)
Determining what kind of systemwide training to implement (e.g. on-site, summer enrichment programs, course work, one-day workshops, etc.) can be a hard decision for school districts faced with problems of limited funds, time, and resources. Often, educators who know how to use telecommunciations are individuals who are motivated to find training on their own. Such is the case for participants on NCIPnet, many of whom are either self-taught, have technology "wizards" in their school to help them, or are so eager to learn, they call NCIP for technical support. One person even felt she would have used NCIPnet more if it had been demonstrated and explained to her face-to-face.
The issues surrounding technology training was a popular topic on NCIPnet. In the thread, "Access to telecommunications," a variety of perspectives offer first-hand insights into the problems educators face in getting online.