Coming Soon: Teacher Educator Technology Competencies
The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
To help educator preparation programs address calls for better preparing new teachers to integrate technology in their practice, we recently led a collaborative research effort to develop a set of teacher educator technology competencies. An article outlining the competencies and our underlying methodologies is currently in review for publication, and we look forward to disseminating the details soon – but for now, we’d like to share some background on what spurred the project and how we decided to approach it.
National Focus: Close Gaps in Use of Technology
Whereas earlier versions of the National Educational Technology Plan (NETP) focused on narrowing the digital divide in education – i.e., creating more equitable access to technology tools – the most recent NETP emphasizes closing the digital use gap by assuring technology is used in ways that engage PK-12 students in “creative, productive, life-long learning” (see p. 21 of this PDF). The 2017 NETP identifies a related concern for colleges of education and charges them to better prepare teacher candidates to teach with technology “from Day 1”:
Schools should be able to rely on teacher preparation programs to ensure that new teachers come to them prepared to use technology in meaningful ways. No new teacher exiting a preparation program should require remediation by his or her hiring school or district. (pp. 35, 36)
With this concern in mind, the NETP explicitly calls on all faculty involved in a teacher candidate’s preparation to address educational technology curriculum, stating, “This expertise does not come through the completion of one educational technology course separate from other methods courses but through the inclusion of experiences with educational technology in all courses modeled by the faculty in teacher preparation programs” (p. 36).
Prior to now, in the majority of teacher preparation programs, educational technology faculty have been responsible for addressing curriculum related to teaching with and about technology. To move forward with the vision of the NETP, the responsibility must shift to all teacher educators. This may require orchestrated planning and ongoing professional development for teacher educators.
Taking Action for Teacher Ed
In an effort to address this call, we undertook the research project with national and international educational technology experts to develop a comprehensive list of teacher educator technology competencies (TETCs). The competencies and related criteria comprise the technology knowledge, skills, and attitudes needed by teacher educators to work with teacher candidates.
Collaboration was key to this project’s success. Researchers and participants alike engaged in a recursive research process that involved collecting, analyzing, and revising data. More specifically, the methodology involved three stages: (1) crowdsourcing literature, (2) using the Delphi method to gain expert feedback for building consensus, and (3) soliciting public comment to finalize the list of competencies.
- Teacher educators worldwide recommended more than 90 scholarly articles related to the knowledge, skills, and attitudes of teacher educators and technology, 43 of which were deemed relevant to competencies for teacher educators. The findings from the articles were synthesized to develop an initial draft of 24 competencies.
- Using the Delphi method, 17 participants refined the competencies. These participants included national and international teacher preparation faculty with expertise in teaching with technology in various content areas and leadership functions, from organizations that would potentially make use of the competencies or promote their use. Delphi participants engaged in six iterative rounds of feedback, which, in the end, produced a final list of 12 competencies with related criteria.
- The final stage of the methodology, a 30-day open call for public comment, included a web-based survey that was sent via e-mail to a variety of organizations and individuals and was shared on a variety of social media platforms.
Our development of the TETCs is aligned with the work of the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. The study is also supported by AACTE, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, the International Society for Technology in Education, the National Technology Leadership Coalition, and the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education.
After our research article is published, those interested in the usability of the competencies will have multiple opportunities to get involved in activities such as exploring professional development models and creating research agendas. We encourage individuals and organizations who want to get involved to monitor our project website for publicized updates on the final list of TETCs, follow #TeacherEdTC on Twitter, or contact anyone on the research team.
Kevin Graziano is professor in the School of Education at Nevada State College and former chair of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology. Teresa Foulger is associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University and former president of the International Society for Technology in Education Teacher Education Network. Denise Schmidt-Crawford is associate professor in the School of Education at Iowa State University and president of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE). David Slykhuis is professor in the College of Education at James Madison University (VA) and past president of SITE.