AACTE Tech Committee Plans Preconference Symposium for #AACTE19

Members of AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology at the 2018 National Technology Leadership Summit in Washington, DC (L to R Shaunna BuShell, Guy Trainin, Jon Clausen, Lara Luetkehans, and Arlene Borthwick)


At the AACTE 71st Annual Meeting in Louisville, Kentucky, the AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology (I&T) will host a free preconference symposium Thursday, February 21, on “Action Steps to Address the Challenge of Integrating Technology in Teacher Preparation.” Members of the AACTE Committee, leaders from the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, and representatives from accreditation and standards organizations will share strategies, exemplars, and tools for education leaders to make informed decisions, develop processes, and assess the impact of their efforts to infuse technology throughout educator preparation programs. Participants will focus on four themes related to action steps education leaders can take to address the challenge of technology integration throughout teacher education. These include

  • Program development – program wide and program deep: the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for new teachers
  • Teacher education faculty development – recruitment and development
  • University/Community relationships – teacher education engagement with community contexts
  • Sustainability for change – leadership decision-making and sustainability

AACTE’s and the I&T Committee’s commitment to be actively engaged with educational technology leaders and be leading voices within the field was evident by AACTE leadership and committee member participation in the 2018 National Technology Leadership Summit (NTLS) where plans evolved for a preconference symposium at the 2019 AACTE Annual Meeting. 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.

The 19th annual NTLS Summit, hosted by SITE September 27-28, took place at AACTE’s headquarters in Washington, DC. AACTE President/CEO Lynn M. Gangone welcomed NTLS attendees, acknowledging the importance of the work to be done during the summit. Current and past members of the I&T Committee attended the event, including Chair Jon Clausen (Ball State University, IN), Co-Chair Lara Luetkehans (Indiana University of Pennsylvania), Guy Trainin (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Shawna Bushell (Manhattan College), and Past Chair Arlene Borthwick (National Louis University). Three concurrent strands were offered during the event on the following topics:

Teacher Education Technology Competencies Cases: Program Deep and Program Wide vs. Technology in a Shrinking Educational Economy

The TETC Cases: Program Deep and Program Wide vs. Technology in a Shrinking Educational Economy strand was led by Teresa Foulger (Arizona State University) and Jon Clausen (Ball State University & AACTE I&T Committee Chair). In 2017, a call was put forth by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology, for teacher educators to come together and figure out a way to assure all preservice teachers can independently teach with technology upon entry to the field. AACTE I&T Committee members and other participants examined existing literature and tools, that when combined, represent a toolkit available for education leaders across teacher education to address this challenge. This examination included the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (Foulger, Graziano, Schmidt-Crawford, & Slykhuis, 2017), standards for the preparation of preservice teacher education candidates (Council of Chief State School Officers, 2011), standards for technology integration (ISTE, 2017), and the vital role of education leaders in sustainable change (ISTE 2018; Graziano, Herring, Carpenter, Smaldino, & Finsness, 2017).

Strand participants engaged in reflective and collaborative problem-solving activities to identify factors that influence and impact technology infusion throughout teacher education programs. Emerging themes included development of a shared vision for infusion, prioritizing competing demands within educator preparation, and balancing the various socio-economic systemic pressures from outside teacher education that work to minimize a focus on technology integration that make change difficult. Actions that emerged from the work include three sub-groups that are beginning research projects focused on synergistic possibilities and praxis between educator preparation, faculty development, and leadership in candidate’s preparation to infuse technology within their instructional practices.

Gamemakers: Utilizing Makerspaces – Generating Tools for the Content Areas

The NTLS strand, Utilizing Makerspaces: Generating Tools for the Content Areas, was co-chaired by Elizabeth Langran (Marymount University and chair, SITE Teacher Education Council) and Tina Heafner (University of North Carolina Charlotte and vice-president, National Conference for the Social Studies) to examine several questions: How might we create the ideal, interdisciplinary gamemaker and/or makerspace for K-12 learning? How does making demonstrate or model disciplinary thinking in our content areas or areas of expertise? What additional ways of knowing does the process reveal that could generate interdisciplinary knowledge needed for college, career and civic life? The morning began with a look at a project on voter district gerrymandering developed by Heafner in collaboration with Glen Bull (University of Virginia), and used disciplinary teams to explore game redesign and custom variants with the use of die cutters, printers and other tools at participant’s disposal. In the afternoon, Joe Garofalo (University of Virginia) led the members of the strand through math puzzle activities, and the day concluded with Roger Wagner’s HyperDuino Zoetrope. The focus was to examine how fabrication files and projects can be edited and adapted to suit a teacher’s educational needs, as well as the connections that can be made with literacy, math, science, history, and other disciplines.

Computational Thinking in the Content Areas: Computer Science for All

The Computational Thinking in the Content Areas: Computer Science for All strand was led by Michael Grant (University of South Carolina and Association for president-elect for the Educational Communications and Technology) and Chrystalla Mouza (University of Delaware and CITE editor-in-chief). This strand examined the current landscape of efforts to promote computer science for all. Participants discussed contemporary definitions of computational thinking, the rationale driving current efforts to promote computer science, recent standards on computer science educators developed by ISTE and the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA), and resources available to support the teaching of computer science. Subsequently, participants engaged in and reflected on interactive computer science unplugged exercises—exercises that teach computer science concepts without technology. Wagner also engaged the group in building a digital version of NIM, a mathematical game of strategy using the MakerBit. The MakerBit works with the BBC micro: bit controller and allows learners to easily connect videos and other digital media to physical models. Through this process participants discussed key computer science concepts supported by the activity, including algorithms, abstraction, and analysis. The group concluded by discussing ways in which computer science concepts can be integrated across content areas and grade levels, issues of assessment, as well as the role of teacher preparation programs in developing the next generation of computationally literate teachers.

Special thanks to Robert Russel from the National Science Foundation (NSF) who presented on the objectives and scope of NSF initiatives focusing on supporting computer science for all.

Join us for the AACTE preconference symposium where we will delve deeper into these topics and engage on ways to advance technology in educator preparation. To sign up for this free preconference symposium, visit the Annual Meeting registration site.

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

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Jon Clausen

Ball State University

Chrystalla Mouza

University of Delaware

Elizabeth Langran

Marymount University

David Slykhuis

University of Northern Colorado