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Technology Challenges During Teachers' Induction Years
Part 4: Teacher Prepared, School Prepared

Of all the conditions that could possibly exist, this is by far the best since no conflict results between the school and the new teachers as they implement technology in their teaching. However, it is not completely without potential challenges for new teachers.

One challenge for new teachers maybe the extra burden of veteran teachers seeking assistance or advice on technology use. Even in cases where veteran teachers are open to the idea of incorporating technology, many have not had the necessary training and experience to do so effectively.

As a result, colleagues may see new teachers as a valuable resource because they recognize the fact that technology training has become a common feature of many teacher education programs. New teachers barely have enough time to handle their own work, let alone take on the added burden of assisting others on technology matters. However, to resist a request for help may be seen as detrimental to the new teacher struggling to be accepted into the existing school social network. Nonetheless, the added responsibility of being asked to model, teach or share experiences of technology use may put an even greater burden on the already disproportionately heavy workload of a new teacher. Conversely, a competent and capable new teacher may feel flattered by veteran teachers' requests for assistance and may use this opportunity to socialize and make a place for themselves in the school's social network.

An additional challenge can arise if parents object to the use of technology. New teachers may be eager to use technology, but they are also highly sensitive to the desires of their students' parents - maybe even more so than veteran teachers. A new teacher is not likely to be adept at dealing with parental conflict, and will therefore go to whatever lengths necessary to avoid it.

To combat these problems it is important for schools to offer orientation programs for new teachers. During this orientation, specific school policies and procedures regarding technology should be addressed. A proactive approach to potential issues and challenges should be developed. It is very important to inform new teachers of resource support for addressing technology questions and/or parental concerns.

It is also important that schools provide reinforcement of new teachers' use of technology. During the induction years new teachers are looking to gain approval both from their peers and administrators. Recognizing teachers for their use of technology is an important step toward keeping new teachers interested in and willing to use technology.

Case Study: The Best of Both Worlds
There were a lot of things to worry about my first year of teaching but fortunately technology use was not one of them," said Michael, a second year teacher in a small Midwestern town. "I received a great deal of technology training in my teacher education program at college and was able to put almost everything I learned to good use.

When he began teaching his school provided a mentor teacher who was also skilled and experienced with using technology. He found that the principal was open to his ideas concerning the use of technology and would do all she could to provide him with the hardware and software that he requested for his classroom.

After my first year, many of the other teachers in my school came to view me as a resource for learning more about technology. I helped when the school offered training sessions and also answered questions on a less formal basis.

Helpful Hints To Meet The Challenge:
Helpful Hints To Meet The Challenge:
New Teachers:
1. Keep or make connections with your university and/or instructors that you had in your teacher education program. Ask them for new ideas on software you might request at your school.
2. Begin planning to use technology in your instruction as soon as you sign your new teaching contract.
3. Spend time at the school, get to know your classroom computer and the materials that are available in the school's computer lab(s).
4. Try to meet with the school technology coordinator and ask for ideas on how to integrate technology into your curriculum.
5. Prior to the beginning of school, set up an electronic grade book and other teacher productivity tools to save yourself the rush at the beginning of school.
6. Continue reading professional journals, especially ones that highlight instructional technology issues.
7. Join professional organizations, especially ones that highlight instructional technology and investigate whether they have workshops, conferences, or on-line help for new teachers.
8. Duplicate or modify successful technology innovations of other teachers.
9. Do a quick scan of your students to find out what they already know about computers, and what software programs they are familiar with.
10. Volunteer to serve on a committee that would seek out and write grant proposals to support technology hardware, software, and staff development.
11. Attend school board meetings and/or meet with the superintendent to learn about the district/corporation's long and short term plans to upgrade technology.
School Leaders:
1. Look for areas in which new teachers have special skills and knowledge and allow them time/resources to share these with other teachers.
2. Meet personally with all new teachers and your technology coordinator. Be sure that the teachers are fully aware of ALL technology-related resources available to them and know how to access them (i.e., hardware, software, technical support, staff development opportunities, etc.).
3. Stay abreast of new developments so that you can provide on-going leadership for your school.
4. Continue to pursue external funding sources to maintain and upgrade hardware and software and to continue staff development.

Continue to Part 5: Teacher Prepared, School Unprepared

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