Teacher Training
More Essential Than Ever

Fall 1998, Vol. 10 No. 1

With national attention finally focusing on education, 1998 will hopefully live in memory, not as the year of Monica vs. the President, but as the year teacher preparation was finally recognized as an essential component of any and all kinds of educational reform. If our schools are to be improved, if student outcomes are to be enhanced, if technology is to be used to enrich the curriculum, then practicing teachers must be retrained and new teachers must be appropriately prepared. The federal budget which Congress approved in the fall provides over $150 million for teacher training activities. This allocation is a compelling message that in 1999 as far as teacher training is concerned, "attention must be paid."

TECH-NJ readers who have been involved in educational technology already know how important teacher training is. Passionate computer-users can never get enough training. And through experience, they know that becoming a skilled computer-using teacher requires a special kind of training. Listening to a three-hour presentation, no matter how good the presenter, does not do it, nor does watching someone demonstrate a particular piece of technology. Teachers need opportunities for hands-on training - i.e., workshops which build specific technology skills by providing in depth training on the equipment which will actually be used in the classroom.

To this end, TECH-NJ is in the process of preparing a series of hands-on workshops which we hope to offer at sites around the state during the spring of 1999. The topics to be addressed in these skill building workshops will likely be the following:

Computers: An Essential Writing Tool for Students with Learning Disabilities

Enhancing the Teaching of Reading with Computers

Exploring the World Wide Web: The Internet for Special Education Teachers

Assistive Technology in the IEP

Creating Custom Overlays and Activities for IntelliKeys

Selecting Software which Matches the Curriculum

Integrating Computers into the Preschool Curriculum: Software Considerations

Integrating Computers into the Preschool Curriculum: Access Considerations

Please look for the flyer announcing these workshops and share them with as many teachers and therapists as you can. As professionals become comfortable with assistive technology and knowledgeable about how to integrate it into the curriculum, we will definitely see positive changes in the technology opportunities provided to New Jersey's students with disabilities.

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