Teachers at all levels need to be able to expand their understanding and use through professional development and grant opportunities, as well as be given time to attend trainings and conferences. They need to be encouraged to assume a leadership role and be asked to share their ideas about instruction with their peers at educational meetings and state conferences. When teachers have a positive attitude and believe technology is useful, are personally interested, and offered support and training, they get excited and, as a result, motivate their students, and use technology successfully to promote learning and achievement.
Active involvement in technology-supported innovations was a source of inspiration and professional renewal for these teachers. This points to the need for active training within all the school systems on a continual basis.
Similarly, Fleming, Motamedi, and May (2007) found that pre-service teachers who had experience with technology in college would more likely be favorable of including high-tech instruction. The purpose of their research was to see if modeling by university professors and practicum and cooperating teachers was related to pre-service teachers' perceptions of their computer technology skills and if pre-service teachers' use of technology in academic and other settings was related to those perceptions. In the study, at the end of the semester during which they completed their student teaching, 79 pre-service teacher education students responded to a questionnaire concerning their training experience and computer technology skills. The results suggested that the more extensively pre-service teachers observe computer technology being used and the more they use computer technology in and out of the student teaching classroom, the more likely they would be to report competence in the computer technology skills. It appears by these findings that as pre-service teachers observe models and obtain hands-on experience with computer technology, they will feel more proficient with their skills and feel more comfortable in including this approach in their daily instruction.
Valedez's (2007) "digital divide" accounts for a more sweeping condition in educational technology than previously described in the popular literature. His defined "digital divide" includes the social consequences attributed to computer and Internet use and addresses the vast differences in teachers' skills, knowledge, and professional practices characterizing high- and low-resource schools. In addition, this new "divide" explains further how stratified educational systems provide more opportunities for innovation, experimentation, and creativity for society's more privileged socioeconomic groups.
He states it is necessary to face social justice concerns regarding the "divide" between high- and low-resource schools. It is time to equalize the technology gap between those schools that have and those who do not. Education policymakers must address issues related to the impoverished communities in which such schools are located. It is one thing to provide in-school computers, but it is also essential for students to have computer and Internet access at home, including up-to-date computers, software, and high speed Internet connections. It is only through social policies, grant initiatives, and programs to provide C&I connections that students from low-resource schools will approach the technology standards existing in more privileged communities.
At this point in time, across the country there remain inconsistencies with technology use for effective instruction. First is the availability and access to the equipment, which still remains much lower in some school systems than others. Second is the desire and ability of the teachers to include high-tech utilization. As in any organization that wants to succeed in the future, it is necessary for schools to have a top-down involvement and interest with technology instruction.
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Lorenzetti, J.P. September 19, 2001 Michigan's teacher laptop experiment begins