I see many teachers in my district attempting to use technology simply so they can say they are using it. Other teachers avoid technology completely. Because my district is a 1:1 district, the expectation is that we will be infusing our lessons with access to websites, apps and other learning experiences that in the past would not have been possible. This can be very overwhelming. Relative advantage is a way for teachers to decide if any given method has benefits that outweigh the current method of instruction. While there are many instances in my classroom that the use of technology will make something easier for either myself or my students, there are other instances where it will not. Last year I attempted to use Castle Learning with my students for a weekly assignment of ten questions. The expectation has always been with these assignments that after my students use all available resources to help themselves, they can then come and work through their mistakes with me. This allows me to reteach concepts they have not fully grasped and gives them the ability to put a perfect score in the grade book. The relative advantage of this was less than zero, after all was said and done. My students struggle to copy things from the screen, so I had to print out the worksheets after I created them. They also needed those worksheets so they could go over the problems with me. After we did all the corrections, they then had to upload their responses so I could regrade them in the program. I ended up tripling my workload and frustrating my students. This is a case where technology was not an advantage. I still use technology to create the assignments, but each student has a paper copy that they complete the work on, and which I grade by hand.
This assignment made me more thoughtful about how I am integrating technology in my classroom. It can be difficult to use some aspects of it in a math classroom without adding extra work. I need to continue to be aware of the advantages vs. the disadvantages.