Training Teachers in Technology

Article excerpt

Training Teachers In Technology

Computers and other advanced technologies can spur major improvements in education, but "educational technologies are not self-implementing, and they do not replace the teacher," says the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA).

A major part of the drive to improve education in the United States focuses on raising professional teaching standards. Technology "could be an important lever for change," according to OTA. Unlike their pupils, most of today's teachers did not grow up in a computerized society, so the success of educational technologies may depend to a great extent on teachers' ability to adapt to advanced classroom technologies, including videocassette recorders, cable and satellite transmission, electronic telecommunications, and --especially--computers.

Yet only about a third U.S. teachers have had even 10 hours of computer training, most of which is devoted to learning about computers rather than how to teach with them, says OTA in a new report, Power On! New Tools for Teaching and Learning. "Despite a nationwide call to improve teaching, there is almost no federal money for the training of new teachers," the report points out.

Some states have already taken steps to develop the technological capabilities of teachers. The state of New Hampshire provided $2.5 million for the purchase of computers for teachers' personal use, whether at school or at home or both. Nearly 2,000 teachers have received a computer and completed initial training. Of these, 130 teachers received two weeks of advanced computer training during the summer of 1988 and will train other teachers in their home districts, forming an active resource network. …