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AACTE Tech Committee Joins Fall Summit, Plans Preconference Symposium for #AACTE18

group photo of aacte committee on innovation and technology
Members of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology at the 2017 National Technology Leadership Summit in Washington, DC

AACTE and its Committee on Innovation and Technology (I&T) are committed to being a leading voice in the preparation of educators to integrate technology within teaching and learning. The latest examples of this commitment include active participation in the 2017 National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) and plans for a preconference symposium at the 2018 AACTE Annual Meeting.

AACTE hosted the 18th annual NTLS September 28-29 at the Association’s headquarters building in Washington, DC. AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone welcomed NTLS attendees, acknowledging the importance of the work to be done during the summit. Six members of the I&T committee attended the event, including Chair Arlene Borthwick (National Louis University, IL), Jon Clausen (Ball State University, IN), Elizabeth Finsness (Minnesota State University-Mankato), Charles Hodges (Georgia Southern University), Lara Luetkehans (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), and Guy Trainin (University of Nebraska-Lincoln).

NTLS provides a unique opportunity to connect leaders in the field of educational technology. Specifically, according to its website, it brings together representatives of national associations, editors of educational technology journals, directors of nonprofit foundations, federal policy makers, and corporate representatives to engage in consequential actions focused on accelerating the meaningful impact of digital technologies in education. Recommendations and guidelines emerging from the summit are published in a range of educational technology journals and are featured on the programs of educational conferences.

“What makes NTLS great is that everyone doesn’t get together to talk,” said David Slykhuis (University of Northern Colorado), who chaired the 2017 summit. “They get together to act on the issues of the day.”

This year, NTLS offered three strands focused on technology standards for school leaders, American innovations in the content areas, and microcredentialing. Attendees participated in working groups with the following outcomes:

School Leadership

Knowledge and support of school administrators is essential to the use of technology as an integral part of innovation in education. AACTE committee member Hodges led this strand along with Michael Spector (University of North Texas). The group worked to identify the challenges administrators face when adopting new technologies and how NTLS participants and their organizations can support administrators to meet those challenges.

The goal is to make sure that technology impacts schools in positive ways and that it becomes part of the solution in meeting school needs. The group recommended seeking opportunities to encourage collaboration and interaction with educational leadership professional communities.

Actions emerging from the work of this group include contribution to a special issue of Educational Leadership, presentations at educational leadership conferences, and involving scholars and practitioners from educational leadership in educational technology publications and conferences.

Maker Spaces

Maker spaces and making are emerging in schools and in informal education across the United States. This strand was led by Denise Crawford (Iowa State University), Glen Bull (University of Virginia), and Roger Wagner (inventor and creator of HyperStudio software and the HyperDuino). This hands-on workshop allowed participants to experience the HyperDuino and interactive projects in a makerspace environment by linking traditional physical school projects to existing and student-created digital content.

Two substrands worked collaboratively within this group. The first strand explored partnerships with the Smithsonian Institution that enable students to reconstruct working models of historical inventions. The second strand focused on how storytelling and making could be combined within the humanities.

Outcomes of this working group include continued promotion of making within formal and informal learning contexts and the announcement by Steve Barato, CEO of the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, of a new initiative designed to support collaboration with the Smithsonian and use of invention kits in engineering education programs nationwide.

“It was beneficial to experience being the learner, understanding the logic of programming together with my colleagues,” said participant Ayn Keneman (National Louis University). “By sharing my professional development experiences with my students after NTLS, I am better able to communicate the benefits of designing collaborative work spaces inside a school, library, or public facility for making, learning, and exploring.”


Microcredentialing and badging are instructional strategies impacting traditional structures within education. AACTE committee members Borthwick and Clausen joined other attendees to learn more about how these types of credentials are being implemented and to understand the issues surrounding microcredentialing and badging.

The working group, led by Slykhuis and Rick West (Brigham Young University), decided to be proactive in their learning and took on the task of developing microcredentials for attendees at several upcoming technology and teacher education conferences. The working group divided into smaller teams to address various aspects of creating these credentials: a competencies team, a design team to construct the various activities conference attendees will complete to earn the microcredentials, a technical team to explore infrastructure needs and existing technologies for creating and awarding badges and microcredentials, and a review team to develop the methods for assessing criteria in artifacts submitted for the microcredentials.

AACTE Preconference Symposium

At the upcoming AACTE 70th Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, the committee will host a preconference symposium February 28 on “Addressing the Challenge of Integrating Technology in Teacher Preparation.” Planners of the symposium include leaders of four working groups that emanated from the Advancing Education Technology in Teacher Preparation Innovation Summit held in December 2016 and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology. These working group leaders – made up of teacher educators from across the country – will join members of the I&T committee at the symposium in sharing strategies, exemplars, and tools for –

  • Instructors’, candidates’, and PK-12 students’ active use of technology
  • Program-deep and systemwide experiences for teacher candidates
  • Research-based competencies and credentials for candidates and faculty
  • Sustainable systems of professional development for higher education faculty

To sign up for this free preconference symposium, visit the Annual Meeting registration site.

In addition to participating in NTLS and planning the symposium, the AACTE committee has spearheaded various publications and research related to the Technology, Pedagogy, and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework, supporting university faculty and administrator knowledge and leadership in modeling application of the framework for adoption by candidates (see TechTrends, 2017, Issue 4). The committee’s work in this area will also be shared during the February 28 symposium.

We hope to see you at the AACTE Annual Meeting in Baltimore!

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Jon Clausen

Ball State University

Guy Trainin

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Arlene Borthwick

National Louis University