Are new teachers ready to take on teaching in ways to support 21st century literacy skills? Current research says no. There are a variety of reasons for this, but tech skills and knowledge appear to NOT be the reason. New teachers typically have good technology skills. They use the Internet to help them prepare lessons and to find professional resources. They may use computers to communicate with parents and to complete daily tasks at their schools. Still, many new teachers are using technology in pretty much the same ways as their more experienced colleagues.
Many people believe that new teachers with tech skills will be able to change the way that technology is used in schools. However, right now this assumption does not seem to be true. So why might this be the case?
- Teachers in general tend to teach how they were taught. Teachers come to the profession with years of experience as a student. This framework and set of beliefs about teaching is difficult to change.
- New teachers may have a desire to use technology in a new ways with students but may face numerous challenges to obtain this goal. Research indicates that new teachers frequently feel frustrated with the lack of technology access for their students.
- New teachers also lack models for how to use technology effectively with their students. As indicated above, teachers tend to teach how they were taught. However, while a tech-savvy teacher might be motivated to use technology with their students, they may face many road blocks that make it very difficult. Mentor teachers may not support technology use or they may lack their own models.
- The culture of the school may not support a new teacher’s desire to do something new with their students.
We have a long way to go in terms of supporting our new teachers to use technology. A school-wide technology plan with the support of school leaders and mentors is essential.