University of Nebraska-Lincoln to Win AACTE Award for Tech EDGE

AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology has selected the University of Nebraska–Lincoln (UNL) to receive the 2016 AACTE Best Practice Award for the Innovative Use of Technology for Tech EDGE, a collaborative partnership between UNL and eight PK-12 partner school districts. The award will be presented during the Speaker Spotlight Session on Thursday, February 25, at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Las Vegas.

Tech EDGE infuses best practices in technology integration centering on the ideas of technological pedagogical content knowledge (TPACK). The partnership is dedicated to preparing preservice teachers with research and theory in university courses and practical applications in schools. As 21st-century skills are adopted locally and across the nation, it is critical that teacher preparation programs and schools work together to determine how to best teach the skills that are necessary in a diverse, global, and digital world.

“Preparing the next generation of educators in Nebraska’s K-12 schools is an important priority for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln,” said Ronnie D. Green, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNL. “I’m so pleased that Tech EDGE is being recognized for its inventive work in helping teachers infuse technology into the classroom. Guy Trainin and his colleagues are to be commended for reaching beyond the norm and providing UNL students and a global audience of educators with effective and innovative resources for improving student learning.”

Tech EDGE aims to meet the following goals:

  1. To create a partnership between Nebraska school districts and Nebraska teacher education programs to improve student learning by informing teacher preparation students, university methods professors, and practicing teachers on effective use of new literacies and 21st-century technologies in the classroom.
  2. To establish a blueprint for effective integration of technology into teaching and learning to empower students to meet educational standards and global challenges.
  3. To infuse current best practices and research to existing teachers as well as teacher preparation programs to improve student learning.
Teacher candidate integrating technology with a struggling reader – Credit: UNL

Technology is only a tool. The end goal is to increase student learning, and the role of Tech EDGE is to increase student achievement through the use of TPACK and the power of partnership collaboration.

Every year, the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology makes this award to celebrate and recognize an innovative use of educational technologies in a school, college, or department of education. This award recognizes outstanding initiatives that are based in the TPACK model of teacher knowledge.

We commend UNL and its eight PK-12 partnership districts as they utilize TPACK and lead the way to prepare our teacher educators, future teachers, practicing teachers, and learners to acquire and to fully utilize and integrate the technology to achieve in the 21st century.

AACTE issued a press release today announcing all of its 2016 award winners. For more information on AACTE’s awards program, visit Applications for next year’s awards open in June.

Elizabeth Finsness, a member of the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology, is assistant professor and director for the Office of Field and International Experience at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

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Elizabeth Finsness

Minnesota State University