Category Archives: Technology Articles

Mentoring Teachers: A Solution?

There are actually several research articles that suggest mentoring is the best way to help teachers learn new technologies.  This makes sense.  Since teachers vary with their knowledge of computers and technology, holding Inservice trainings or workshops may leave some teachers bored or be too advanced for others.  By using a mentoring system, teachers can be trained one-on-one or in small groups.  Regular meetings and trainings would take place, so much more could be learned and retained than a one time professional development course.

One article I read about technology mentoring was Development of a Technology Mentor Survey Instrument: Understanding Student Mentor Benefits by Sonmez Pamuk and Ann D. Thompson.  They put a plan in action and found both mentors and mentees benefited from this type of technology exchange.  They also found that once teachers learned a new technology tool, they were quick to adapt it into their classroom curriculum.

I think this is a great idea! I think the biggest hurdle would be to get the support of administration.  Since Alabama is adopting the Common Core Curriculum, many hours professional development hours are spent training teachers on the Common Core. But if we really look at the Common Core Standards, we will see that the main goal is to prepare students for college and career in the 21st Century, and isn’t that the same goal as technology integration?

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Teachers and Technology Integration

Interesting research was conducted by Coleen Moore-Hayes at Cape Breton University (see link under articles).   She found that teachers with a positive self-efficacy about technology were more likely to integrate technology into the curriculum.  Teachers need more than access to technology. They need training on the technology itself.  That makes absolute sense to me.  I do consider myself rather tech savy, and I like to explore new websites that I can use with my students.  But before I even introduce the site to my students, I at least play around with the site to get a feel for it.  I do this way before I ever consider ways I could use it in the curriculum.  Most teachers in the survey wanted to learn more.   So if we agree that more technology is needed in our schools and that students should be using technology throughout their coursework, then the question is how do we get our teachers trained so their self-efficacy raises?  Simply putting technology in the classroom or in the hands of the teachers and students is not enough.  Even if the teacher’s job will change from leader to facilitator, they will still need training.  It only makes sense.

My school district went to 1:1 technology this year.  The teachers received training on implementing the publishers software.  Most teachers now feel comfortable having students read text online and watching the publishers short videos of weekly skills.  Is this truly integration?  I think not.  Do many teachers want to do more?  Absolutely.  But who is going to train them?  What kind of time is allowed for the training?  Those are just some of the questions that need to be answered as we move forward in this new age of learning.

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Two Articles For Alabama Technology Leaders

If you are from Alabama and at all interested in technology integration into our schools, there are two articles you must read.  Technology in Alabama Public Schools Report (2009) and IMPACT: Alabama Technology Plan 2007-2012.  Both of these articles can be accessed by the links on the right.

Technology in Alabama Public Schools Report summarizes data collected from surveys about the state of technology education in Alabama schools.  The authors concluded three major findings.

  • Both teachers and administrators report that they are not receiving the necessary digital literacy skills to prepare students for 21st Century work.
  • Parents want teachers to use technology tools to improve home-school connection, student achievement, and organizational skills.
  • Schools are not keeping pace with current technology that will be required for success in the 21st Century.

IMPACT: Alabama Technology Plan 2007-2012 takes that report and establishes 4 goals for the state.  Those goals are basically:

  • Technology integration and mastery of state standards
  • Expanding opportunities through technology
  • Technology professional development
  • Technology infrastructure

The plan not only states the goals but includes objectives, indicators, how data will be collected to measure the implementation of goals.  More importantly, strategies are included to help meet the goals.  The plan is meant to make recommendations and provided guidelines to help the Alabama education system meet the needs of 21st Century learners.  Technology plans written following these guidelines help support E-rated applications.

The good news is that Alabama is not in the dark.  I know I get discouraged and wonder why we don’t see or hear about more teachers and schools integrating technology like we know they should. But at least there is a plan.  We need to be familiar with the plan and use it to our advantage when looking for ways to gain support from administrators and teachers.  Yes Alabama we have a plan.

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