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An #AACTE23 Recap: How the Digital Equity & Transformation Pledge Creates Digital Efficacy

At AACTE’s 75th Annual Meeting in February, incoming Committee on Innovation and Technology Member Laurie Bobley (Touro University) attended the Deeper Dive Session, “Technology Pledge into Practice – How the Digital Equity & Transformation Pledge Creates Digital Efficacy at EPPs,” presented by the committee. In the following article, she recaps the session’s content and implications.

Education at all levels has undergone a rapid transformational shift towards digital learning environments and the use of technology. Educator Preparation Programs (EPPs) are now grappling with how to ensure that the changes are implemented in a way that is truly beneficial to teaching and learning. As EPPs also consider the future of learning, they have begun to recognize the vital role that technology must play.

The U.S. Department of Education and ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) worked with input from EPPs and other stakeholders by developing the EPP Pledge ­­for Digital Equity and Transformation. The pledge focuses on “a vision for transforming educator preparation providers to meet the needs of today’s schools.” It consists of five pillars that can guide the preparation of educators to engage and educate students with technology in new learning environments.

  • Pillar 1: Prepare teachers to thrive in digital learning environments
  • Pillar 2: Prepare teachers to use technology to pursue ongoing professional learning
  • Pillar 3: Prepare teachers to apply frameworks to accelerate transformative digital learning
  • Pillar 4: Equip all faculty to continuously improve expertise in technology for learning

Preparing educators to become proficient in using digital tools to facilitate learning requires access to resources, training, and hands-on experience. Still, many EPPs continue to rely on a single course to teach candidates to meet this requirement. EPPs can instead expand what they are already doing by embedding a variety of educational technologies and providing relevant training. For candidates to become proficient in selecting, integrating, and modeling technology, faculty must become responsible for knowing how to do these same things. Further, by using nationally recognized educational technology standards to align the use of technology in every course, including in clinical experiences, candidates can learn about technologies that are consistent with specific content-related pedagogical principles. EPPs can also offer online courses and webinars and encourage candidates to engage in professional learning networks, educational blogs and social media to stay current with the latest evidence-based trends and strategies.

  • Pillar 5-Collaborate with school leaders to identify shared digital teaching competencies

Every school or district has its own unique context and educational goals. These could be as varied as improving literacy rates, providing more access to resources for students with special needs, or developing low-cost ed tech solutions for a specific purpose. Collaboration between the EPP and local school districts is critical in identifying specific needs and core skills and competencies that are required for effective teaching and learning in P-12 classrooms with diverse needs. 

By collaborating with school leaders, applying frameworks to advance digital learning, investing in ongoing professional development, and equipping faculty with the latest technology tools, resources, and training, schools can provide students with a high-quality education, create an environment that supports student success and prepares them for the future. The EPP Pledge serves to promote the responsible, effective use of technology in education. It provides a sensible framework for EPPs to commit to navigating the complex landscape of using technology in the classroom. To date, the EPP Pledge has been signed by approximately 80 institutions.

The following AACTE members presented at the session: Rachel Karchmer-Klein (University of Delaware), Michael McVey (Eastern Michigan State University), Lorrie Webb (Texas A&M University-San Antonio), Michael Kennedy (University of Virginia), David Slykhuis, (Valdosta University), Robert Moody (Fort Hays State University ), Lisa, Dieker (University of Central Florida). Carolyn Sykora (ISTE) also presented as part of the session.

For more information about the session, please visit the Annual Meeting Library in Connect360. For more information about the EPP pledge, please visit the ISTE website.­­­

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