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A case study of teachers’ experiences participating in a Ministry of Education technology initiative Dean, Virginia Clare

Abstract

This case study was conducted in order to understand the challenges and experiences of teachers from the Westview School District (pseudonym) participating in the British Columbia Ministry of Education's Grades 6-9 Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Initiative. The four levels of teachers for this study included: 1. staff from the ministry responsible for either coordinating or managing the Initiative; 2. staff from the district responsible for implementing the Initiative in the district; 3. mentors who were the teachers responsible for supporting mentees as they implemented ICTs into their practice; 4. mentees who were the teachers implementing ICTs into their teaching practice. The research questions that framed this study are: 1. By participating in the Initiative did teachers make any changes to their practice, confidence levels and attitudes towards information and communication technology? 2. How effective was the mentorship model for implementing information and communication technology? 3. What factors are necessary to support the adoption of information and communication technology in teaching practice? Three methods of data collection were used including interviews, a personal journal and observation of mentors and mentees. Teachers were given a choice of being interviewed using either personal, email or mail interviews. From the analysis of the data, clusters of themes of experiences were identified including; teachers' motivations and feelings; difficulties with the mentoring relationship; technology issues; satisfaction and dissatisfaction with the Initiative. In conclusion, outside forces that are beyond the control of educators can seriously affect the outcome of educational initiatives. In order to counteract these forces, other means of support including funding must be made available. Time is required to make substantial changes to teachers' practice and students' learning. Therefore, technology implementation must be supported over a period of more than one and a half years before noticeable changes can be made. Mentoring is not a relationship that can be created for or imposed on people and it requires time to develop. The complexities of the combination of needs, personalities and skills make mentoring a difficult relationship to create through a one time initiative.

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