National Academies Press: OpenBook

Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now! (1995)


Suggested Citation:"INVESTING IN TEACHERS." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
Page 17
Suggested Citation:"INVESTING IN TEACHERS." National Research Council. 1995. Reinventing Schools: The Technology is Now!. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9485.
Page 18

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Teachers receive teaching profession is proceeding far too slowly. The great majority of teachers will “When it comes to technology less technical support not be able to take full advantage of tech- in education, you can nology that is now available without tech- than does any other nical support. And society cannot wait for create it, you can design group of professionals. a new generation of teachers more famil- it, you can produce it, you iar with information technologies to enter Computers occupy the desk- can legislate it, you can the schools. tops of most professionals in the The professional development of teach- order it, restructure it, United States, but not in classrooms; ers has often been an afterthought in give it standards, and write there, computers are often used ex- American schools. When budgets get tight, outcomes for it. But the clusively by students. The average worker career development is often one of the in America can take advantage of $50,000 first things to go. But if teachers are to bottom line is that if it is worth of capital invested in that job; the become comfortable with the technologies going to happen, teachers comparable figure for teachers is $1,000. that will reshape schools, they must receive have to make it happen.” Most teachers do not even have immedi- both preservice training during their col- —JACQUELINE GOODLOE, ate access to a telephone. lege years and inservice training during Despite these obstacles, a small but their careers. They need after-school work- WASHINGTON , D.C., T EACHER rapidly growing number of teachers has shops, summer sessions, and time off from discovered the power and scope of infor- their classes to learn how technology is mation technologies—often with comput- being used elsewhere. They need to be ers they have at home. They are using able to observe their colleagues’ class- computers and telecommunications to rooms and talk with them so that they can form networks of teachers, comparing unlearn old practices and build new ones. experiences and exchanging ideas. They In the long run, for technology to succeed, are acquiring curricula and other instruc- as much time and money must be invested tional information over educational net- in teachers as is invested in the actual works. They are using computers to hardware and software. reduce administrative drudgery and to Teachers and admin- track and guide student development. In istrators—shown here the process, they are using technology not in North Carolina only to reinvent schools but to reinvent (top) and Tennessee their own roles as teachers. (bottom)—must be But the natural dif- given the opportuni- fusion of computer ties and resources expertise needed to use tech- through the nology in the class- room, integrate it INVESTING IN into the curriculum, and manage and 18 TEACHERS monitor its use. Sources of Training for Teachers Who Are Familiar with Computers PERCENTAGE OF TEACHERS IN SURVEY 10 COURSES OFFERED OVER NETWORK 26 STATE OR COUNTY COURSES 30 SPOUSE AND.OR FRIEND 32 ON-SITE CONSULTANTS 37 UNDERGRADUATE/GRADUATE TRAINING 40 COURSES AT SCHOOL 45 DISTRICT COURSES 51 INSTRUCTION FROM COLLEGES 55 LOCAL COLLEGE COURSES 72 CONFERENCE OR WORKSHOP 96 S ELF TAUGHT

A There are many ways to promote the tists, English teachers with writers, social successful union of familiarity of teachers with technology. studies teachers with historians and muse- information technol- One possibility is to tie pay scales not to um curators. Teachers involved in these ogy and systemic the advanced degrees teachers acquire but partnerships can then act as resource to the completion of courses teachers for their colleagues. reform of K-12 edu- designed explicitly to As American education upgrade professional skills. “Good teaching will never cation requires a begins to move toward a be replaced. The right sug- renewed commit- Another possibility is to new model of school, the create a new kind of educa- education of teachers must gestion at just the right ment to teachers tional professional skilled in undergo a fundamental moment, the congratulatory in the nation’s educational technologies. shift—toward a model that pat, the admiring mentor— schools. If teachers are to Such a person could work treats the lifelong education with individual teachers to of teachers with the same these will all continue to be become the students’ integrate technology into importance as the education essential to the processes empowered managers and classrooms and fully use its of students. Teachers must of education, no matter how be given time to travel to resource guides for the interactive and networking capabilities. meetings and share informa- entertaining and high-tech broader world of information One of the most powerful tion with colleagues. They our instructional media available through networks, methods of professional must have the authority to become.” they must have opportunities development is to establish structure their classrooms in explicit links between teach- —S AMUEL G IBBON , J R ., ways that allow them to meet for professional development ers and organizations outside high standards and simulta- ALFRED P. SLOAN FOUNDATION neously address the individ- to take on this new role. schools such as corporations, Investment in teachers universities, nonprofit insti- ual needs of their students. tutions, and federal laboratories. For And as true professionals, they deserve the today for all forms of profes- example, teachers can be paired with cor- technological support that professionals sional development is woe- responding professionals in the broader need to do their jobs. fully inadequate. While their community: science teachers with scien- access to technology in the classroom and at home is growing, it is at far too slow a pace and at a level of finan- Kathleen Martinelli- cial commitment too low to Zaun teaches 6th address the needs. Nor can grade at Dorcey Middle School in this shortfall be met by rely- Fox Chapel, PA.: ing on a new generation of “Radio Shack started younger teachers that are offering free classes to educators. Those more computer literate than classes gave me their predecessors. That some basic skills. strategy is not consistent Later, I took two different computer with systemic reform. workshops that I Teachers must be offered heard about through opportunities for coursework my college alumni newsletter. One in information technology and workshop gave me the opportunity to engage in the opportunity building links in their commu- to see how other teachers were nities where experience with “There can be infinite uses of using technology.” technology is already in place. the computer and of new Students must be brought into age technology, but if the the reform strategy as they teachers themselves are not are experienced mentors in able to bring it into the the emergent world of cyber- classroom and make it work, space. School systems that then it fails.” want to change must promote —NANCY KASSEBAUM , professional development of U.S. SENATOR teachers with the same com- mitment they make to hard- ware and software availability and network access.

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Today's children have grown up immersed in a world of computers and other information technologies. They play video games; they listen to music on digital compact disks; they help their families program the computerized controls of videocassette players. With all of the exciting innovations in computer technology, children have the opportunity to gain a wealth of knowledge without ever leaving home. Schools by comparison can seem dull.

Education reformers have been developing new approaches for improving the way in which children learn and interact in the classroom. They now must consider the "technology gap" that exists between the technologically rich experiences children have outside the classroom and the comparatively low-tech, in-school environment. The aim is not just to outfit more classrooms with computers. Schools should be changed so that they encompass and guide out-of-school activities that already embrace technology.

Not only is this vision possible, it also is feasible, according to Reinventing Schools. This document, available only as an on-line publication, is based on a meeting at which hundreds of leaders -from government, education, and the entertainment and information technology industries-developed strategies for reinvigorating the K-12 educational process by integrating the school experience with the information technology that has captured children's imaginations.

Funding for the project was provided by the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Academy Industry Program of the National Research Council, Coca-Cola Endowment Fund of the National Research Council, and Kellogg Endowment Fund of the National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine.

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