Hoffman (1996), in his analysis of the barriers to classroom computing, notes that technology complicates teaching and that many teachers feel they are doing just fine without all the problems and uncertainties that computers bring. Hoffman goes on to note that most teachers lack the time needed to get "up-to-speed" on computers and that many teachers are uncomfortable with the fact that their students may very well know a great deal more about computers than they ever will. Additionally, familiar problems cited by the research include the following list of teacher frustrations:
- if they get computers, they may not have enough electric outlets;
- if they have the outlets, they may not have a phone line;
- if they have the infrastructure, they may lack the software necessary to integrate with curriculum;
- if they have the software, they may not know how to integrate it with the teaching methods that they have come to rely upon; and
- they may fear that their old methods will not work with the new technology-and they may be right!
These problems have led teachers to ask a number of basic questions concerning any new technology that they are asked to use.
- Is the machine simple enough for me to learn quickly?
- Can it be used in more than one situation?
- Is it reliable, or does it break down often?
- If it breaks down, do I have to fix it or will someone else repair it.
- How much time and energy do I have to invest in learning to use the machine vs. the return it will have for my students?
- When students use the machine, will there be disruptions?
- Will the machine maintain or compromise my authority to maintain order and cultivate learning? (Cuban, 1996 p 39)
The preceding problems and questions have led many teachers to conclude that computers and the Net are simply not worth either the effort or the risk.