http://danvillesanramon.com/print/story/print/2008/11/28/teachers-and-technology


DanvilleSanRamon.com

Perspective - November 28, 2008

Teachers and technology

Internet technology has taken all of us by storm, making jobs easier while at the same time challenging employees to learn new skills - sometimes a whole new way of thinking - and to embrace new systems as they become outdated every few years. The school district has had the huge job of integrating technology at its schools and district offices, training its 2,000 teachers plus other employees, and coordinating these efforts while providing support.

It was disheartening to learn that the San Ramon Valley Unified School District has fallen short in these goals and has been without a director of technology for a year and a half, partly in response to budget woes. Luckily new Superintendent Steven Enoch understands the importance of technology and has hired Bruce Chmieleski as the new director. He started Nov. 1.

Technology affects teachers as employees, plus they must use it to create opportunities for learning and to promote student achievement. Hopefully all teachers by now are comfortable with computers but they need to accept the potential of technology and have the knowledge and confidence to integrate it into their classrooms.

It can be frustrating for busy employees to be told a new system will make their job easier – but they have to find time in their already overburdened schedules to learn the new system. Some teachers have complained they've had inadequate training in technology and also that technology has made their jobs more time-consuming. The district, or perhaps each school, also needs guidelines so technology improves communication between teachers and parents, teachers and teachers, and teachers and students, making it more efficient, not a burden.

Now that the new director is in place, he can develop a comprehensive plan to guide the district on better ways to implement software, lay out an effective plan for teacher training, and provide adequate support services for when inevitable problems arise.

While the district has an obligation to provide the training - and follow-up training - teachers must understand their obligation to take the training and master the technology. Internet technology continues to be a learning experience for all of us.

Enoch has said his job is to make students successful for the 21st century. He stepped in at a good time.

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