Improving Internet Training of Teachers Through Mentorship:
As classes ended in June of 1997, New Brunswick completed a $23 million quest to connect every school to the World Wide Web. (MacLeans magazine) With the arrival of these new computers and tools, came an onslaught of challenges for teachers. First, for many educators who thought a mouse still had four legs, this 'Internet', whatever it was, was just a mind-boggling task too complex to undertake. Secondly, for those with limited computer knowledge, the challenge was to gain enough know-how to integrate the Internet into the instructional process. No matter what the level of computer literacy though, the introduction of this latest teaching tool has necessitated that teachers rethink their role in the classroom. This new idea that "teachers, long parked at the head of the class, must move into the passenger seat, where they will observe, coach, and accompany students on the giddy ride down the information highway" (MacLeans), has frightened many.
Like any innovation in education, the 'plugging-in' of classrooms has met with opposition. Some parents feel that in our haste to get on the information highway, we have neglected the basics. Others claim that "multimedia computers are the thalidomide of the 1990's" (MacLeans magazine). And as the debate continues, the reality remains that while the Internet is no panacea, it is an unparalleled resource for education that has the potential to transform the manner in which students learn and teachers teach. It has presented educators with the critical task of getting trained, keeping up-to-date, and using the Internet so that our students may master the technologies that are coming whether we are ready for them or not.
Traditional Methods of Training for Teachers:
Teachers haven't been left to figure out the internet for themselves though. School districts across New Brunswick have held a plethora of computer and internet i