Professional Development

New Online Certificate Program to Teach Educators How to Use Tech in the Classroom

New Online Certificate Program to Teach Educators How to Use Tech in the Classroom

Beginning this fall, people in education can pursue a certificate in how to use technology in the classroom. The new online "Advanced Education Technology Certificate Program" is being launched by the University of Michigan School of Education, which worked with the university's Center for Academic Innovation to develop the learning experience.

The semester-long credential is intended for K-12 teachers, technology coaches and administrators. It was launched as a pilot this month 18 participants from across the country, representing those three roles, as well as a few U-M students. The program will blend synchronous bi-weekly live meetings with interactive asynchronous work in between.

The focus won't be on how to use specific technology. The emphasis, according to program lead, Liz Kolb, clinical associate professor of education technologies, will be on the pedagogy behind the use of tech in the classroom.

Those who complete the course will earn a "U-M Advanced Education Technology Certificate" and 45 hours of the State of Michigan Continuing Education Clock Hour credit. The cost, while $699 for an individual teacher, will be modified for schools and districts that want multiple teachers to participate.

"Teachers are not trained to teach with educational technology. They have limited time to access and review the research. Many tend to trust the ed tech companies to tell them what to do," Kolb said, in a statement. "My passion is helping teachers, administrators and tech coaches understand the research that informs how we should be managing and using tech in the classroom."

Kolb was part of a research project that surveyed 600 K–12 teachers across the United States and found that many weren't confident in their abilities to use technology in meaningful ways with their students. That project, the eMINTS U.S. Department of Education Office of Technology survey, showed less than half of respondents felt prepared to both manage and teach with technology; 60 percent felt ill-prepared to meet student needs; and just four in 10 were confident enough to select appropriate technology tools.

Likewise, two-thirds (67 percent) weren't ready for the legal, citizenship and privacy aspects of teaching tech; and a little over half (52 percent) considered their administrators prepared to evaluate their teaching around technology.

Just two in 10 of the administrators said they considered their teachers prepared to use tech in the classroom.

"We really are trying to make it meaningful and personal to what they are doing, so that the teachers can work with what they have [technology wise]," Kolb said. "We hope the certification will become a model so other schools and colleges will want to take on this work."

The fall program will begin on Sep. 1, 2020.

Certification details are available on the School of Education website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.