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Experienced and new teachers learn from each other when it comes to technology

6:39 PM, May 6, 2013   |    comments
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LEWISTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A new generation of teachers that grew up with technology are about to enter the field, bringing lots of new ideas with them. It's the job of more experienced teachers to help mentor them. So how do they do it when they may not understand the technology the teachers in training are using?

Bates College professor Anita Charles has studied technology in education and said working with tech-savvy student teachers is not as difficult as you might think. Creating a lesson plan is about knowing what your objectives are and how the tools you might use in the classroom can get you there. Technology is moving so fast, she said, it's not the tool itself that's important. "The important point and thing is that we as educators and our students are on the same learning curve in some ways, which is we need to learn how to access resources," Charles said.

For instance, one of Charles' student teachers, Isabelle Ballard, recently was mentored by 27-year veteran teacher Debra Butler in Lewiston. For years, Butler has had her history students create binder projects about World War Two. Ballard, instead, had students use Google Docs and create their project online. Butler considers her teaching style "old school," but embraced Ballard's approach. "She's requiring them to do a lot of work, which I like, because that's what I do. Her expectations are high," Butler said.

Butler also had Ballard teach her some of the technological tools she used because she saw them working in the classroom. "We have to keep their attention," Butler said. "And kids seem to have more screen time than school time."

Ballard said she sees technology as a way to connect to students, but Butler was giving her even more valuable skills of classroom management and planning. "She's shown me -- just by watching her -- that you have to have a sense of humor. She's like an encyclopedia. She knows so much. She told me that will come in time."

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