by Dr. Sylvia Charp Editor-in-Chief I recently participated in a variety of meetings dealing with the use of technology at all levels of education. At the meetings I attended, pre-service education d'es not receive as much attention as d'es inservice education. A number of educational institutions are still resisting use of technology for teaching and learning. However, teachers-education programs requiring computer literacy for all students have increased, although slowly. We now find courses with the word "technology" or "information systems" in their titles. Subject matter is being redesigned to integrate technology in both methods and foundation courses. A number of colleges of educators are using the guidelines developed by the International Society for Technology (ISTE) -- L. Thomas, H. Taylor and D. Knezek, affiliated with the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education( NCATE) -- to integrate the use of technology into the preparation of all teachers and to develop and/or revise curriculum for both minor and master's programs in technology. Development and implementation of formal standards for teacher preparation in educational computing and technology require resources, equipment and staff-development opportunities for faculty and students with funding to support integration of technology. OTA Report Due in Fall The U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources has requested the Office of Technology (OTA) to investigate among other things the "availability and quality of staff-development programs offered at the pre-service and inservice teaching level which encourage the use of technology in an integrated fashion across the curriculum." The gathering of data began in July, 1993 and the report is to be completed by this fall. Questions regarding pre-service teaching programs includes: Do programs concentrate primarily on operational procedures or are creative applications discussed? A pre-service training programs a part of the school of education's courses or are the programs offered as electives as part of the computer science department? Is there increasing interest among schools of education in offering more technology-based instruction training? Are there model technology education courses in place at the nation's colleges and universities which could be emulated by others? Do any states licenser exams to measure a prospective teacher's knowledge of educational technology? Are most inservice technology-training courses offered at the school or at another site, and who provides the training? Are states developing statewide plans for coordinated integration of technology into the curriculum and if so, are teacher-training programs crucial to the plans? What is the proper Federal role in providing professional development to teachers regarding the role of technology in the classroom? Inservice Increasing, Slowly Increasing numbers of teachers have access to some technology, but many are not fortunate to have sufficient training to best take advantage of what is available. Professional development of staff may not include use of technology. However, workshops and inservice opportunities for teacher training are increasing. Many examples could be cited. The Council Rock School District in Pennsylvania offers 15 technology workshops after school throughout the year. A computer technology teacher is located in each building to provide onsite support, to suggest new curriculum integration methods and to provide technical assistance. The School District of Lee County, in Fort Myers, Fla., made the commitment to implement technology in all of their schools and provide technology training to their teachers. This has resulted in 1,500 teachers participating in programs over the past two years. In Lake Park Community High School District # 108, Rossell, Ill., an IBM PS/2 is received as compensation for technology training outside the regular school day. Professional development of staff at all levels of education are involved with activities that support their subject matter expertise. Needs still exist to influence educators, especially university faculty, that technology will contribute to improve student learning. Exploiting the Electronic Highway Use of bulletin boards (BBSs) and electronic mail to provide opportunity for peer support, problem solving and information sharing is growing at both local and state levels. Many examples exist. For example, participants at Michigan EC Net sites located throughout the state have access to distance learning materials that they might not otherwise obtain due to the economic and geographic isolation of the educational institution. The Society for Technology and Teacher Education (STATE), the University of Virginia and the University of Houston are all collaborating to establish a Teacher Education Server on the Internet. This was established to explore the ways in which the Internet could assist teacher education programs around the world. An International Survey of Distance Education and Teacher Training -- From Smoke signal to Satellite (Nov. 1993) written by R. Cornell and his colleagues at the College of Education, The University of Central Florida and produced for the Innovation and Development sub-committee of the International Council of Educational Media makes the following comparison (see chart) as the report focuses on the role of distance education in teaching training. Leading the Way As we enhance teacher productivity and competencies in using technology, we contribute to educational change and improvement. In a speech delivered February, 1994. at Georgetown University, Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley stated: "Teachers are better teachers if they have real time to learn new skills and teaching techniques and to develop engaging lessons and meaningful assessment...professional time. Every child must be computer literate and a new generation of teachers need to learn new skills and make interactive learning a real experience."
This article originally appeared in the 04/01/1994 issue of THE Journal.