Low income, English as a second language, access to computers and the teacher capabilities to be able to teach technology are all issues to integrating technology into the classroom.
Low income families can be disadvantage due not access to computers at home or at school. According to J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. low income families who do have access to computers is of poor quality in regards to equipment and programs. Internet access is slow and unreliable. There is also corrorelation between school learning and home learning and understanding the importance of children learning the basics at home gives the children the confidence to use the computers at schools (J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. 2003, Page 42) the disadvantages of home learning can also be influenced by language barriers.
Not all families use English as their first language neither do they fluently speak it in the home environment. J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. confirms that Students who English is not their first language have found ICT difficult as there is a strong assumption about the English skills and level required to use basic programs and to be able to navigate around the internet. (J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. 2003 page 42-43). The disadvantage of the language barrier also effects the development of computer skills, their attitude and dispositions that are necessary to effectively use the computer (J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. 2003 page 47-48). School can have a positive impact on these students’ lives as they help to break down the barriers and can access great programs to help enhance and build on the language skills in both reading and writing. The difficulty lies in the accessibility and time that the students have at the school and at home.
Access to computers in schools can be in the form of computer labs where the teacher needs to book a time and or one to two computers in a classroom. Both situations make it difficult for teachers whether it is the computer lab fitting into lesson plans and it being enough time for working and not just for getting computer problems solved. J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. discusses that teachers felt it difficult to fully integrate computers into lessons and the teachers had to give up too much time to instructional and not being able to allow students enough time to practise and gain experience with skills being taught. Lack of technical support meant that teachers lost confidence in the equipment and software due to frequent failures and failure to complete lessons in the allocated time. School have found that it is vital to effectively integrate technology into the classroom that an on-site technical assistant be recruited to assist teachers when needed (J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. 2003 page 203). It is very important that along with tech support for teaching technology the teacher must also be competent in teaching IT. This includes the school providing time for the teacher to have professional development days and time for lesson planning.
In regards to teachers capabilities to teaching using IT J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. discusses the importance of the teacher’s attitude as this has a significant impact on the students use of ICT and also on the students learning abilities.
Low professional development and low levels of ICT and internet skills will tend to restrict the range of internet and computer use in their lesson planning and focus on basic ITC skills like internet searching, basic Microsoft word usage. ICT will not be a tool to help scaffold students work and learning on individual projects. (J. Blackmore, L. Hardcastle, et. Al. 2003 Page 06)
Blackmore, J., Hardcastle, L., Bamblett, E., Ownens, J. (2003).
Effective Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Enhance Learning for Disadvantaged School Students. Deakin University, Retrieved July 11, 2010, from www.dest.gov.au/NR/rdonlyres/D63F92A3-6931.../ICTreport.pdf