N.J. teachers to mentor peers
- By Brian Robinson
- Jun 06, 2001
Technology Fellowship: Mentoring and Modeling
The New Jersey Department of Education, with funding from the U.S. Education
Department, has developed the first statewide program in the nation that
uses working teachers to help train and mentor their peers in the practical
use of computers and instructional technology.
The 20 teachers in the Technology Fellowship: Mentoring and Modeling
program were chosen through a competitive application process carried out
at the district and county levels. They will be released from their teaching
responsibilities from July 1 through June 30, 2002, and will start actively
mentoring other teachers in classroom situations at the beginning of the
school year this fall.
The teachers will collaborate with New Jersey's county-based Educational
Technology Training Centers during their training and mentoring stints,
and they also will help develop a multimedia Web portal through which students
and teachers can learn how to use technology and the Internet more effectively.
"We've had a substantial investment of around $50 million a year in
hardware and software for schools, and we feel we've been making good progress
[in disseminating technology]," said Julia Stapleton, New Jersey's director
of educational technology. "But what we haven't had up to now is appropriate
expertise in classroom instruction of how to use that technology most effectively."
The downside is that the program is funded for only a year, Stapleton
said, although the New Jersey teacher's union has become interested in the
program, offering some hope that the program may get funded beyond the initial
A challenge could be showing how effective the program will be, she
said, because its uniqueness means there are no existing metrics that can
be used to measure the success. The people involved know it will be a powerful
program, Stapleton said, "but how to show this in a formal, hard way is
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.