Cole and Styron report that with the additional technology available in today's schools it would be natural to believe that students would enter the workforce better prepared for use of technology than previously. This is stated however to not be the case since reports show that in 1998 approximately 22% of employees possessed the necessary technology skills upon entering the workforce and these are technology skills needed for approximately 60% of the new jobs in the job market.
From these statistics it can be assumed that teachers are failing to incorporate technology into classroom instruction and thereby failing to enable students in expansion of their learning to include technology use. The work of Poole and Moran (1998) is stated to have made identification of several factors known to contribute to the ineffectiveness of staff development in the area of technology. Those factors are stated as follows:
(1) lack of support from school administration;
(2) lack of awareness of what is needed in the schools;
(3) one-shot workshops that are inadequate and that have no follow-up;
(4) expense of training; and (5) lack of continued support. (Cole and Styron, nd)
The study conducted by Cole and Styron is stated to have been quantitative in nature and involved gathering data through use of a causal comparative design involving the responses of 90 teachers who had participated in online training modules through TeacherLine, a free professional development program sponsored by PBS. Analysis was conducted through use of a survey that focused on the determination of a difference in attitudes concerning online professional development. Stated to be a factor in the analysis was the level of computer experience possessed by individual teachers prior to their participation in an online professional development session.
Specifically investigated in the research was the willingness of teacher to incorporate technology into the classroom following participation in an online professional development session. Findings of the study state an indication that "...the vast majority of the respondents to the survey understood the benefits of using technology to enhance the learning and teaching experience and the value of using technology in the classroom after they participated in online professional development.
This data alone are enough to demonstrate to professional development coordinators that the use of technology is important to most teachers, and with the advancement of technology comes the dilemma of providing constant training on new technologies." (Cole and Styron, nd) it is stated to have been clear that the method preferred for delivery of training was through online professional development in the opinion of 89.1% of the participants in the study.
The work entitled: "Perspectives on Instructional Technology" (1997) states that the "...Integration of instructional technology into the academy by teachers would benefit from close interaction with trained instructional staff. Potential users need support for both learning the technology and using it to enhance their instruction and student learning. DoIT and the New Media Centers provide workshops on the use of specific tools and sponsor weekly brownbag seminars."
It is additionally reported that the "Biology New Media Center provides a new model of discipline specific assistance in locating and creating instructional materials. These valuable programs are essential in helping faculty get started incorporating new it in their teaching. Programs are needed to continually train faculty even after adoption of a particular it. To participate in these workshops and to conduct follow-up activities requires a time investment by the faculty and support staff." (Perspectives in Instructional Technology, 1997) it is necessary that faculty who do adopt it possess the skills necessary to cope with problems with the technology.
IV. PICASSO -- Portal Integrated Curriculum, Assessment, and Student Services Operation
The work of Luscre (nd) entitled: "Out of a Box...Integrating Technology Effectively" reports a study with the purpose of discovering if the implementation of "...PICASSO (Portal Integrated Curriculum, Assessment, and Student Services Operation) would increase the level of technology integration and effectiveness of teachers at the elementary school research site." Luscre reports that teachers were trained "...on the Internet-based management site and were asked to use the system to extend their level of technology integration into their curriculum. Randomly selected teachers documented their use of technology in the classroom and lab environment. Teachers documented dates, times, specific technology, and to what extent PICASSO was used." (Luscre, nd)
Luscre reports that incorporating of the program allowed teachers to integrate technology into the curriculum which resulted in more meaningful learning "...because they taught using the QCC's (Quality Core Curriculum) and resources provided by PICASSO." (nd) it is reported that teachers in the study "...took pre and post LoTi (Level of Technology Integration) questionnaires and data showed that there was a significant increase in several areas of the survey. Increases were also noted in computer usage time over 20% during the course of the intervention." (Luscre, nd) Results of the study are stated to have demonstrated that "the use of PICASSO was a successful tool in assisting teachers during planning and implementing technology related lessons into their curriculum. Further use of the program will be used and teachers will continue to train as the program gets more sophisticated." (Luscre, nd)
V. Pre-Service Training on ICT Use
The work entitled: "Pre-Service Teaching Training on ICT Use in Education: Republic of Korea" reports a study with the following goals: (1) Long-term goals: Accelerate quality of higher education through the application of advanced technology; Strengthen international competitiveness of pre-service teacher institutions through; state of the art it infrastructure; Enhance quality of teaching-learning to reduce the teaching information divide; Strengthen HRD of student teachers with advanced ICT training; and Facilitate the introduction of pedagogy using ICT in pre-service teacher training program; and (2) Short-term goals: Effective adoption of ICT to enhance quality of teaching, learning, and pedagogical approach; Strengthen student teachers' competency in the use of ICT in education to better prepare for rapid changes in the educational environment; Enhance quality of ICT educational program and capability of student teachers' ICT applied teaching-learning curriculum development; and Provide optimum effectiveness of teaching-learning using advanced ICT. (UNESCO, nd) it is reported in this study that the training for primary and secondary school teachers are similar in terms of providing the opportunity to understand: (1) PC and the peripherals, system software, application software, (2) the concept of and ability to develop courseware with multimedia authoring software, computer networks, and information ethics, and (3) management and development of resources on the Internet and apply them to teaching. The report states that the slight differences between the two groups are specifically: "For secondary school teachers the curriculum is divided into computer education and educational technology. Computer education courses focus on preparing students to use computers effectively, while educational technology courses prepare students to be able to carry out research and development in advanced educational technology including PC, TV, and Video in either a school or industrial setting." (UNESCO, nd) Stated as the methods used in training teachers are the following:
Develop and operate various educational programs in ICT to strengthen student teachers ICT skills;
Run classes using multimedia and computer assisted programs to develop educational media;
Develop various methodologies for each subject
Utilize multimedia, spreadsheet, strategy to apply GSP, online chat rooms, virtual experimentation, and the use of mind-maps;
Develop ICT applied programs through diversified learning;
Discussion, collaborative study, virtual teaching, and practical teaching;
Differentiate development method of ICT educational program for student teachers;
Design educational programs which imply exemplary cases of classes using ICT;
Observe a film of class and practice of lecture;
Develop a program in connection with the whole curriculum within elementary teacher training college;
Develop operational guide book for teacher training faculty;
Develop advanced programs using ICT by subject;
Organize from basic ICT to advanced ICT skills;
Apply program model based on problem-solving ability;
Provide real examples that may occur in the educational field and solutions using modules;
Modularize the use of ICT educational program;
Develop training program which enable program operator reorganize and modify;
Develop method for program operator (lecturer);
Main lecturer and supportive lecturer who provide technical assistance;
Program is operated for approximately 4 weeks period usually in senior year;
Establish ICT applied teaching-learning model process by specific subjects;
Analyze each subject to determine next learning theme and ICT-applied teaching-learning model;
Design and development ICT-applied teaching-learning; and Input the result of development into the educational metadata. (UNESCO, nd)
Pre-Service Teacher Training Program Using ICT
Source: UNESCO (nd)
Summary and Conclusion
Clearly the education and training of today's teachers and school faculty must be a high priority in today's schools in order for classroom instruction to be successful and to prepare students for entering the real world upon completing their education. As demonstrated in this present study the support of the school administration is key in this initiative both in terms of funding and type and form of training provided to the school…