PT3 Grant Technology Roadmap, New Assessment Standards May Pave The Way

January 12, 2001

Many industries have established technology criteria standards or certifications to show competency in a given field. Construction workers cant operate a wrecking ball without being certified. An anesthesiologist cant put you under without proper certification either. But how do educators of today and tomorrow know what technologies they must master and employ to maximize their students learning potential? No standard skill set for teacher technology aptitude exists…yet.

Kyle Peck is leading an initiative, Assessing Educational Competency with Technology (AECT), to identify such skill sets. These certification standards will help teachers from a variety of disciplines gain and demonstrate the ability to effectively teach with todays emerging technology.

Peck, professor of instructional systems and the overall project director, will begin by forming a consortium of other universities, professional organizations, teachers representing diverse disciplines and technology-based corporations to develop technology competency skill sets. Susan Land, assistant professor of instructional systems, serves as the director of lesson development, and, senior research associate, is the projects director of assessment.

Thanks in part to funding from a federal Preparing Tomorrows Teachers for Technology (PT3) Catalyst Grant, $1.64 million will be allocated over the three-year project–federal PT3 funds will supply 50 percent and the other half will be university/partner sponsored.

Titled Technology-Adept Teachers for Educational Reform, its goals include:

    1) Define technology skills for 37 teaching roles;

    2) Establish a nationally recognized assessment and certification process;

    3) Assist teacher preparation programs to model tech-based learning experiences;

    4) Develop tech-based tools to help teachers assess student technology competencies;

    5) Offer training, assessment and support to other teacher preparatory programs.

A middle school art teacher would need different technology skills than would a high school physics teacher, Peck said. These competency sets will guide teachers and the institutions that prepare them, and the presence of certificates will place pressure on higher ed institutions to change their courses to ensure that teachers leave prepared.

If accepted, the nationally recognized assessment and certification process could be made available through Penn States World Campus.

If constructed correctly, this could be a national program with both on-line assessments and courses as well as face-to-face training sessions and assessments, Peck explained.The program could improve face-to-face pre-service and in-service courses on campus, continuing education outreach efforts, and the World Campus offerings.

According to Pecks estimates, there are more than three million teachers that need to keep up-to-date with technology. Even if five percent of them desire to go through the technology certification this initiative envisions, it could serve as many as 150,000 teachers.

The partnership includes three other universities, the National School Boards Association (NSBA), the Association for Educational Communications Technology (AECT), and the Agency for Instructional Technology (AIT)