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Technology Challenges During Teachers' Induction Years
Part 7: Teacher Unprepared, School Unprepared

In this scenario, there is significantly less conflict when it comes to technology, but a catalyst for change is absent. Ultimately it is the students who suffer because the school is not prepared to encourage or train a teacher to use technology and the teacher is not prepared to encourage or train the school to use technology. Because there are no outlets for new teachers to explore and learn about technology, a teacher will quickly lose what little knowledge s/he did have about technology if it is not used within the first few years. This may result in even the new teachers being turned off to the thought of trying to learn about or use technology. On the same token, if the school is unprepared there is likely to be a lack of equipment, up-to-date software, and staff support structure for troubleshooting and problem solving.

Solutions are much harder to come by in this situation because it is likely that no one will recognize them, or admit that there is a problem. Help must come from the top down. States must implement more rigorous standards for new teachers concerning knowledge and use of technology. Schools of education must find better ways to prepare new teachers and be more inclusive of technology in all curriculum areas, rather than treating it as a separate content area.

Case Study: Nobody Wins
Samantha had too many other things to worry about her first year besides trying to use the things that she had learned about computers in college. "I didn't see other teachers using technology, and it wasn't readily accessible to use anyway."

Two years after teaching at the same school, the principal formed a technology committee. Samantha was asked to be a part of this committee, but only reluctantly agreed--feeling as though everything she had once learned had been forgotten.

"Our school only recently adopted its technology plan, and I am excited about all of the great things to come. However, it is going to be frustrating to try and squeeze in enough time to learn all of the things that I could have learned in college, and to re-learn the things that I have forgotten.

Helpful Hints To Meet The Challenge:
Helpful Hints To Meet The Challenge:
New Teachers:
1. Identify strengths and weaknesses and learn how technology can help you become more organized and effective.
2. Read about the importance of/uses of technology in classrooms now and for the future.
3. Continue your education, add course work or other experiences about uses of instructional technology.
4. Set goals and include learning about technology in your Professional Growth Plan.
5. Search for your colleagues (either rookies like yourself or veteran teachers) who have expressed an interest in technology and form a support/learning group.
6. Talk with friends from college or teachers from other schools to learn about how they successfully use "low-end" technology in their school.
7. Look at K12 technology journals to learn about technological innovations that could work in your school. These can be found at a school, public, or college library and many of them are on the Web.
 
School Leaders:
1. Write for grants and/or pursue other means to purchase technology and related staff development.
2. Invite local business/industry leaders to a forum at the school to get their insights about the types of technologies and related-skills needed by the workforce. Then have them brainstorm with you ways to finance and train staff members to use technology.
3. Send a team of administrators, teachers, school board members, parents, etc., to a technology conference or invite a team from the state department of education to address the need for technology in your school.
4. Conduct a needs-assessment to determine teacher skills and interests regarding technology.
5. Designate a teacher-leader to coordinate a study/support group that focuses on the use of various technologies in the classroom based on previous needs-assessments.
6. Through the school-improvement committee or other site-based leadership group, establish short-term and long-term goals to incorporate appropriate technologies into the classroom.
7. Identify potential funding sources to support acquisition of technology and staff development.
8. Contact local businesses and industries to arrange partnerships for potential donations of hardware and software.
9. Work with the new teacher to identify specific technology-related items to include on the teacher's Professional Growth Plan and monitor the teacher's progress. This could be facilitated by the new teacher's mentor, especially if the mentor has good technology skills.
10. Request that the teacher spend time during the summer prior to his/her first year becoming more familiar with technologies available in the school.
11. Advocate for a school or district technology coordinator.
12. Develop a technology plan or revisit and upgrade the present one.
13. Be sure all staff have access to e-mail.

Continue to Part 8: Conclusion


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