Top N.J. teachers to share their tech savvy
- By Brian Robinson
- Jul 02, 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 start 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 distributing 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 has only been funded for a year, Stapleton
said. However, the New Jersey teacher's union has expressed interest in
the program, offering some hope that it may get funded beyond the initial
Demonstrating the effectiveness of the program could prove to be a challenge,
she said, because its uniqueness means there are no existing tools that
can be used to measure its success. The people involved know it will be
a powerful program, Stapleton said, "but how to show this in a formal, hard
way is the question."
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.