Summing It Up

The potential for technological advances in support of teaching and learning seems limitless. Each new generation of computers, each advance in multimedia applications and each gain in telecommunications delivery opens more opportunities. Information Age realities seem close to the reach of some students, but the gap between current opportunity and actual use of technology in most schools is enormous.

We hope this paper captures a vision of the opportunities that learning technologies might provide for all. This vision will keep changing as invention follows new paths of technological creation. The vision will help us only if the states and our nation take the steps recommended here to bring the next generation's tools to the hands and minds of our students. The Council of Chief State School Officers is committed to bringing the vision and recommendations here to reality for all American students.

The Instructional Telecommunications Consortium (ITC), an affiliate of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), was established in 1977, and is a national leader in advancing the instructional telecommunications movement. ITC represents over 400 educational institutions from the U.S. and Canada. ITC held a Symposium on Telecommunication and The Adult Learner in 1991 (Brock, 1991). The goal of the Symposium was to bring the experience and intellect of the participants to bear on defining the major needs of technology-based distance education and to recommend appropriate future actions. The meeting planners recognized that the participants could not cover the entire field of postsecondary learning via telecommunication in one day. While the use of many kinds of technologies, both on and off campus, are burgeoning, the symposium participants focused the discussion on preproduced television courses. This decision was based on four major assumptions:

    1. Colleges and universities must continue to reach out to adult learners where they are. Colleges must continue delivering education to adults in their homes and workplaces in addition to attracting adult students to campus classrooms. Television courses, among all the technology-based courses, have the best chance of reaching into every home now.
    2. Lifelong learning is no longer just a pleasant, perhaps somewhat shopworn slogan. Lifelong learning must be the new reality. "Keeping America Working," a well-known AACJC project, was successful because it was predicated on keeping American learning. The education and training requirements of the workplace and professional office will continue their steep climb and rapid change. Equally important is the accelerated expansion of the knowledge base needed in both the neighborhood and global arenas. A first-class life requires continuing a first-class education. Postsecondary education must become even more sensitive to adult needs and ever more innovative in tailoring education to the realities of life.
    3. The successes of preproduced television courses in meeting adult learning needs are well-documented, and they must continue. Hundreds of studies support this assumption, as does the experience of most of the symposium participants.
    4. Television is the most widely used technology for college courses. Television courses enroll more adult students through more colleges than any other technology-based course. A new research study by Ron Brey, scheduled for publication in the summer of 1991, indicates that television will increasingly be the technology choice for colleges.

The initial presentations and the following group discussion converged on five major ideas:

    • Think strategically
    • Identify learning needs
    • Redefine a television course
    • Raise the level of awareness
    • Secure new sources of funding


American Association of Community Colleges (AACC)

In its publication "Building Communities: A Vision for a New Century" (1988)American Association of Community Colleges, AACC states that "In community colleges, technology is an important tool for teaching and for learning. Television extends the classroom electronically far beyond the campus. At colleges from coast to coast, students can, through on-line terminals, gain access to library resources and the word processor extends the creative power of faculty and students.

As we look to the twenty-first century, the challenge of technology in support of teaching will grow even more intense. Technology, if well used, can democratize the learning environment. Through technology, all students, regardless of their backgrounds, can travel to the moon or travel to the bottom of the ocean. Through technology, every college can provide a nine million volume library for its students. With programmed learning, students can learn at different rates.

The effective use of technology increases retention. Through technology, college officials can keep better track of who their students are, what they need and how they are progressing. The system can flag a student who is absent or who is performing unsatisfactorily. Within the classroom, in learning labs, and in tutoring sessions, new interactive computers make drill and practice much easier for the student. By increasing feedback, they expand faculty ability to improve learning. Appropriately used, technology can increase the quality of human interaction. It can for example, handle more of the routine and thus open up time for discussion.

Finally, technology should surely encourage innovation. Electronic teaching may provide effective exchanges of information, ideas and experiences. New technologies promise to enrich the study of literature, science, mathematics, and the arts through words, pictures and auditory messages. But television, calculators, word processors and computers cannot make value judgments. They cannot teach students wisdom. That is the mission of the faculty, and the classroom must be a place where the switches are sometimes turned off. To achieve this goal, the support of technology must be linked to college objectives.

The goal should be to use technology as a means, not an end. And the challenge for the community college will be to build a partnership between traditional and nontraditional education, letting each do what it can do best. If technology is not made evenly available to all students - if some colleges leap ahead while others lag behind - the gap between the haves and have nots in education will increase.

Thus, we conclude that each community college should make clear the assumptions on which its use of technology is based, and there should be a plan that precedes the hardware and is regularly updated. Most important, faculty must be involved both in establishing priorities and developing the mechanisms to support these priorities.

    • We recommend that every community college develop a campus-wide plan for the use of technology, one in which educational and administrative applications can be integrated.
    • We also propose incentive programs for faculty who wish to adapt educational technology to classroom needs.
    • Further, we recommend that a clearinghouse be established at the American Association of Community and Junior Colleges to identify educational software of special value to the community college.
    • The community college - through technology - should continue to extend the campus, providing instruction to the work place and to schools, and scheduling regional teleconferences for community forums in continuing education.
    • Finally, we recommend that new uses of technology be explored. Specifically, community colleges should lead the way in creating electronic networks for learning, satellite classrooms, and conferences that connect colleges from coast to coast, creating a national community of educators who transcend regionalism on consequential issues."


Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) Report (1990)

The United States Congress' Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) released a comprehensive study of distance education. The report by Dr. Linda Roberts, "Linking for Learning: A New Course for Education." (1990) was requested by the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources and endorsed by the House Committee on Education and Labor. OTA has made a significant contribution to the literature regarding distance education.

The report focuses on distance learning in elementary and secondary education. It analyzes various technological options, examines current developments and identifies how federal, state and local policies could encourage more efficient and effective use of distance learning.

Chapter headings include: Distance Education in Today's Classroom, Technology Links: Choices for Distance Learning Systems; The Teacher Link: New Opportunities for the Profession; States: Catalysts for Change; and Federal Activities in Distance Education. The appendices include a state-by-state profile of distance education activities; sample costs of transmission systems, a glossary, and contractor reports.

To summarize the document, federal activities in distance education should focus on the following:

    1. Federal government funds have accelerated the growth of distance education in this country, through direct purchasing power as well as the leveraging power of the federal dollar. The Star Schools Program (Department of Education) and the Public Telecommunications Facilities Program (Department of Commerce) are the primary federal programs directly affecting distance education in elementary and secondary schools.
    2. Other federal agencies have interests in distance learning through their responsibilities for technology development, training and education. Yet, no agency-wide strategy or interagency coordination is now in place. The fragmentation of telecommunications regulation and policy making may inhibit development of a coherent plan for educational telecommunications. Since the education community is diverse and speaks with many voices, it may be difficult to have its concerns articulated over the din of other stakeholders more fluent in these issues. On the other hand, the volatility of the telecommunications policy making environment may work to the advantage of education interests. Because the nation's schools represent a major market for new technology applications, the education community could create a powerful position from which to influence telecommunications policy.
    3. Federal agencies will have increased opportunities to accomplish agency missions via distance delivery in the near future. The largest providers together can reach a great number of American schools and communities today, and that number will increase in the next few years. Agencies may find distance delivery an attractive way to reach national audiences for a variety of missions including education.
    4. Federal telecommunications regulations are central to distance education, because they affect costs, availability and types of services. In light of the rapid growth of distance learning, it is time to review and shape federal telecommunications policies to ensure a more effective and flexible use of technology for education.


National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education : Technology and the New Professional Teacher: Preparing for the 21st Century Classroom (199\7)

This report is the culmination of a year of deliberations by NCATE's Task Force on Technology and Teacher Education. NCATE commissioned the task force to help guide the development and implementation of technology expectations for teacher candidates and for accredited schools of education, and to guide the organization's use of technology in the accreditation process.


It is impossible to deny the tremendous effect rapid technological growth has had on our society. This explosion of new technologies has changed the way we live - from the way we do business to the way we communicate with each other. Technological advancements are also affecting the way we teach and learn.

The business world demands that our schools prepare educated workers who can use technology effectively in the global marketplace. The president and vice president of the United States, governors, state legislatures, and other policy-making groups are increasingly convinced that technology is a central element of educational reform and improved student learning.

New skills needed in the workplace are catalysts that spur technology use in the classroom. Computer to student ratios have declined steadily from 50:1 in 1985 to 20:1 in 1990 to an estimated 9:1 in 1997, affecting traditional classroom practice and even the culture of the schools.

Student enrollment is growing at the same time that the nation's experienced teaching staff is declining, due to regular retirement. An estimated two million new teachers will be hired during the next decade. Classroom teachers hold the key to the effective use of technology to improve learning. But if teachers don't understand how to employ technology effectively to promote student learning, the billions of dollars being invested in educational technology initiatives will be wasted.

The nation's teacher education institutions must close the teaching and learning technology gap between where we are now and where we need to be. Although progress has been made and exemplary practices exist, recent research indicates that most teacher education programs have a long way to go.

Teacher education institutions must prepare their students to teach in tomorrow's classrooms. Rather than wait to see what tomorrow's classrooms will be like, they must experiment with the effective application of computer technology for teaching and learning in their own campus practice. Today's teacher candidates will teach tomorrow as they are taught today.

The NCATE Task Force on Technology and Teacher Education, a group of educators from diverse institutions and backgrounds, was assembled to consider ways that NCATE can provide leadership and support initiatives to meet the technology challenge facing teacher education institutions. The group met three times during 1996-1997 to identify and discuss the issues contained in this report. The first section of the report presents the task force's vision of what teachers must be able to do in order to take advantage of technology for instruction and student learning, identifies current teacher education program deficiencies, and suggests what teacher education programs need to do to correct the deficiencies and bring vision into reality.

The second section advances three broad recommendations regarding what NCATE can do to: (1) stimulate more effective uses of technology in teacher education programs, (2) use technology to improve the existing accreditation process and to reconceptualize accreditation for the 21st century, and (3) improve and expand its own operations through greater uses of technology. Brief case illustrations that demonstrate innovative technology use in a variety of teacher preparation programs appear throughout the text to highlight and illustrate points made in the report.

The task force finds that a watershed for education and training has been created by rising costs for P-12 and higher education, by educational reform efforts at the state and federal levels, and by developments in modern information technology that have already affected the U.S. economy and society. Marginal efforts to improve teacher education will not satisfy the spirit of the times or the practical demands placed on education by the nation. Vigorous action by NCATE and its member institutions is necessary to effect substantial reform.

Impact of Technology on Teaching

From time to time, someone invents a product or develops a practice which has an unforeseen and massive impact on society. The printing press, created by Johann Gutenberg approximately five and a half centuries ago, was such an invention. Who would have predicted that a press initially devoted to publishing the Bible and other religious texts would someday be seen as one of the forces undermining church authority? Who would have imagined that books, then owned by few and treasured as symbols of wealth and power, would someday be accessible to nearly everyone? And who could have foreseen a system of public schools organized primarily for the purpose of teaching children to read and to help them absorb the knowledge books contain?

The results of the printing press, and all of its modern successors, are so much a part of our lives it is difficult to imagine an existence without the ability to read, and the books, journals, and newspapers that support a reading public. It is also difficult to imagine how one could organize instruction without textbooks and various associated readings. For teachers and students alike, learning at all levels of education has been primarily a process of reading what experts have written, discussing what has been read, and listening to teachers explain or expand upon textbooks. In most cases, schooling has become a process for understanding, retaining, and reporting what is found on the printed page.

Inventions of the twentieth century have the potential to influence society as much as did the printing press. The computer, video, and telecommunications of various kinds are having an impact on every aspect of our society: work, leisure, entertainment, household tasks. These inventions are also transforming the way we approach knowledge and sources of expertise. Today, people are no longer required to read about an event; they can see media versions of it unfold before their own eyes and make their own interpretation. Consequently, the ability to obtain and interpret information quickly and accurately is even more important than in the past.

There is no longer a question about whether the new technology will be used in schools. Nearly everyone agrees that students must have access to computers, video, and other technology in the classroom. Many believe these technologies are necessary because competency in their use is an important feature of career preparation; others see equally important outcomes for civic participation. Most importantly, a growing research base confirms technology's potential for enhancing student achievement. What is less

certain is how and when these technologies will change the nature of schooling itself. For example, the technologies are already providing an alternative curriculum for students that is scarcely acknowledged by the formal school curriculum. Nevertheless, they have been mainly employed as additions to the existing curriculum. Teachers are employed who know how to use them, but knowledge of and skill in the use of technology has not been necessary for all teachers. These attitudes are surely short-sighted if technology infusion is to take root.

The introduction of computers and other technologies into schools is occurring at the same time that three decades of research in the cognitive sciences, which has deepened our understanding of how people learn, is prompting a reappraisal of teaching practices. We know from this research that knowledge is not passively received, but actively constructed by learners from a base of prior knowledge, attitudes, and values. Dependence on a single source of information, typically a textbook, must give way to using a variety of information sources. As new technologies become more readily available and less expensive, they will likely serve as a catalyst for ensuring that new approaches to teaching gain a firm foothold in schools.

Despite the technology changes in society, being a teacher in American schools too often consists of helping children and youth acquire information from textbooks and acting as an additional source of expertise. Teachers are provided role models of this approach to teaching from kindergarten through graduate school; their teacher education courses provide hints for making textbook-oriented instruction interesting and productive, and as teaching interns, they both observe and practice instruction based upon mastering information found in books.

Teachers may be forgiven if they cling to old models of teaching that have served them well in the past. All of their formal instruction and role models were driven by traditional teaching practices. Breaking away from traditional approaches to instruction means taking risks and venturing into the unknown. But this is precisely what is needed at the present time.

How must teachers adapt to take advantage of technology for instruction?

New Understandings: Teachers need to understand the deep impact technology is having on society as a whole: how technology has changed the nature of work, of communications, and our understanding of the development of knowledge.

New Approaches: Today, teachers must recognize that information is available from sources that go well beyond textbooks and teachers - mass media, communities, etc. and help students understand and make use of the many ways in which they can gain access to information. Teachers must employ a wide range of technological tools and software as part of their own instructional repertoire.

New Roles: Teachers should help students pursue their own inquiries, making use of technologies to find, organize, and interpret information, and to become reflective and critical about information quality and sources.

New Forms of Professional Development: Teachers must participate in formal courses, some of which may be delivered in non-traditional ways, e.g., via telecommunications; they must also become part of ongoing, informal learning communities with other professionals who share their interests and concerns.

New Attitudes: Finally, teachers need an "attitude" that is fearless in the use of technology, encourages them to take risks, and inspires them to become lifelong learners.

Once, a teacher who was well prepared in the subject she taught, experienced in the design of interesting classroom activities, and on top of information conveyed by the textbook, could contemplate a long career in teaching without having to change her style or practice very much. Those days are over.

Future teachers take their cues from the practices they observe in classrooms during teaching practica and internships. If students are taught the latest technology uses as part of their teacher education programs, but don't see effective technology practices in the schools, they are unlikely to incorporate technology use in their own teaching. Schools are powerful socializing agencies that greatly affect new teachers' perceptions about what does and what doesn't work in practice. Recognizing this fact, the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and local school divisions have been working together for a number of years to ensure that preservice teachers encounter best practices in P-12 schools.

The new technology will transform the role of the teacher as thoroughly as did the introduction of printed textbooks. More than in the past, teachers must become advisors to student inquirers, helping them to frame questions for productive investigation, directing them toward information and interpretive sources, helping them to judge the quality of the information they obtain, and coaching them in ways to present their findings effectively to others. This will require teachers to become even better prepared in the content of the subjects they teach, and the means by which the content can be taught and learned.

Challenges to Teacher Education

Re-educating the existing teaching force will not be easy and will require extensive professional development over many years. The problem will be greatly compounded if those teachers entering the profession now and in the future have not been adequately prepared to use new technology.

Public attention has been focused on the reform of elementary and secondary schools without attending to the preservice preparation of teachers who will work in these schools. However, with an estimated need for two million new teachers over the next decade to replace retiring teachers and to meet increased student enrollment, well-designed preservice teacher education is a critical factor in reforming our schools.

Responsibility for preservice teacher education is not limited to a college or department of education within a university. In general, teachers take more courses in general education and in their academic majors and minors than they do in professional studies. Any effort to remake teacher education must consider all of the undergraduate and graduate experience of teachers, as case illustrations 4 and 5 demonstrate.

To what degree are higher education institutions meeting their responsibility for preparing tomorrow's classroom teachers? Bluntly, a majority of teacher preparation programs are falling far short of what needs to be done. Not using technology much in their own research and teaching, teacher education faculty have insufficient understanding of the demands on classroom teachers to incorporate technology into their teaching. Many do not fully appreciate the impact technology is having on the way work is accomplished. They undervalue the significance of technology and treat it as merely another topic about which teachers should be informed. As a result, colleges and universities are making the same mistake that was made by P-12 schools; they treat "technology" as a special addition to the teacher education curriculum - requiring specially prepared faculty and specially equipped classrooms - but not a topic that needs to be incorporated across the entire teacher education program. Consequently, teachers-in-training are provided instruction in "computer literacy" and are shown examples of computer software, but they rarely are required to apply technology in their courses and are denied role models of faculty employing technology in their own work.

The reasons for these deficiencies in teacher education programs are relatively easy to explain, if difficult to excuse. First of all, many teacher education programs lack the hardware and software essential to strong programs. Teacher education programs often are given low priority for special technology funding on their campuses and therefore are denied essential technology. Second, many teacher education faculty lack the knowledge and skill to incorporate technology into their own teaching. Similar to P-12 teachers, they have not been provided the training they need to use technology successfully. Third, a majority of teacher education departments and colleges have not been able to invest in the technical support required to maintain a high quality technology program. Fourth, some higher education faculty are out of touch with what is happening in schools. They have little understanding of the vast changes that are occurring in P-12 classrooms as a result of the introduction of technology and how they must change their own instruction to stay abreast of changes in the schools. Finally, teacher education programs are driven by an academic culture that rewards and recognizes individuality among faculty.

There are few incentives for bringing faculty together around a common vision about what the teacher education program should be. There may be individual faculty who believe that more emphasis should be given to the role of technology, but in any program it is likely that faculty who either oppose technology altogether or who at least do not wish it to be a priority are present as well. Furthermore, development of technological applications of software, while extremely time-consuming, is often not as highly valued for tenure as is more traditional publication and research. Too, because college faculty also are expected to be experts in their own fields, there is little or no tradition of identifying absences of knowledge and skill among college faculty and providing faculty development to overcome these deficiencies.

What Is To Be Done?

Bringing about the needed changes in teacher education programs will not be easy. Change will not occur by simply adding a course or recruiting a new faculty member who understands technology. What is required is a transformation of the culture of teacher education, one in which technology is seen as changing relationships between students and teachers and between learners and knowledge, as case illustration 6 demonstrates.

While change will be difficult, it cannot be avoided or postponed if teacher education programs are to serve the needs of schools. Here are a few steps teacher education programs should take.

Creating a Vision

Teacher education programs should be guided by a vision of what their programs might become if they took full advantage of information technology. For example, teacher education programs devote substantial time and expense to providing "early experiences" for their students. These typically involve sending students individually or in groups to spend time in school classrooms observing teachers. Sometimes these experiences are tightly linked to the instruction taking place in the university classroom, but illustrative examples of theory in practice can rarely be planned and cannot be analyzed as they occur. Two-way interactive video allows teacher education students to observe a P-12 class from their university classroom. Their professor can point to events that deserve special consideration, without interfering with the P-12 class.

Technology can also serve as the catalyst for reconsidering the entire architecture of teacher education: e.g., how, when, and where candidates will acquire the knowledge and skills they need; and the linkage between preservice and in-service professional development. The integration of technology should be accomplished in relation to other efforts to reform teacher preparation, not as a separate reform initiative.

No vision about the future of teacher education is likely to prove useful if it is not closely tied to a set of assumptions about the future of schooling and the impact of technology on school instruction. This visionary process is one that must remain fluid and subject to amendment as conditions and opportunities change. The job is not to create a vision statement that remains fixed for years; the task is to begin a process in which the faculty begin to dream about the kinds of schools and teacher education programs society requires and how to obtain them. Above all, the process demands a faculty prepared to experiment and to try new ideas.

Developing a Plan

With a vision in hand, the teacher education faculty need to plan how their vision can be realized. The "plan" must be more than a technology acquisition plan that focuses on how to acquire, allocate, and amortize hardware and software. The plan must be tightly linked to other planning processes in the college and include suggestions for integrating technology across the curriculum, for providing faculty development, and for building the support structure the program will require. Steps for reallocations within the existing budget as well as ideas for seeking external funds are also a part of a good plan. The budget planning process must also include the recurrent costs associated with technologies - which include maintenance as well as upgrading.

Perhaps the most important part of a sound plan is the specified outcomes for the students who are enrolled in the teacher education program. What knowledge, skills, and attitudes will they acquire from the teacher education program that are essential for them to perform successfully in technology-enriched P-12 classrooms?

Vanderbilt's Peabody College has developed an excellent conceptual model of the way courses and curriculum and student learning can be transformed via technology. Teacher candidates can progress along a continuum, starting as consumers of technology (reliance on faculty-developed applications) to become producers of technology-based applications for use in their teaching.

In addition, teacher education programs should pay careful attention to the National Standards for Technology in Teacher Preparation, developed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). ISTE recommends that all teachers acquire competencies in basic computer/technology operations, in personal and professional uses of technology, and in the application of technology for instruction. Few, if any, teacher education programs are currently meeting all of these standards. Few schools or departments of education will be able to achieve their plans and to reach their visions in a brief period. Therefore, plans must remain flexible in order to take advantage of new and unforeseen circumstances: new technology, new faculty, new funding opportunities. What is important is to have a plan that is directed toward the vision with the flexibility to alter the plan appropriately as efforts take place. Continuous and systematic planning is more important than achieving a final plan.

Allowing Experimentation

Perhaps the best way the faculty can inspire teachers-in-training to use technology is to cast themselves as learners and to experiment fearlessly in the applications of technology. The teacher education faculty can make themselves role models of lifelong learning if they create for themselves situations in which they must learn from each other and from their students. Except at the level of graduate seminars, faculty are not accustomed to place themselves in situations where they are members of a learning group. College faculty can lean upon more skilled faculty colleagues who can coach them while they improve their own abilities. Such efforts demonstrate a model of teaching behavior that should be encouraged among P-12 teachers.

It is not necessary for all faculty members to exploit every technology in their classes. Nor is it necessary for faculty to reach consensus on how technology should best be employed. The fact is that we are in the early stages of understanding how technology can be used most effectively to support teaching and learning. Given the circumstances, it is best if many pedagogical approaches are tested, several theories of learning applied, and a variety of technologies are used. The results of each experiment should be assessed carefully. Encouraging faculty to be reflective about their work and evaluate results of instruction can also advance an important domain of knowledge, while building faculty competence.

This is not a time when teacher education programs can confidently predict how technology will change the profession. This is a time of transition, which calls for experimentation.

Taking a Comprehensive Approach

If teacher education programs adopt a vision of what they wish to accomplish and become, and specify technology's role in support of this vision, and if they encourage an attitude of experimentation in which the teacher education faculty and the teachers-in-training learn to use the technology effectively together, then the other factors that must change will logically follow. These include:

    • An appropriate infrastructure that allows powerful applications of technology to occur. For example, the technical infrastructure must not only accommodate uses on campus but also allow distance learning connections with P-12 schools and teacher education programs in other colleges and universities.
    • Incentives for faculty in terms of release time for professional development, new course development, and recognition for experimental teaching at times of tenure and merit review;
    • Technical support that provides reliable maintenance of existing equipment and assistance for new software applications;
    • Sufficient access to technology for faculty and students;
    • Better linkage to P-12 schools and to other sectors of the university or community where students receive portions of their training;
    • Continuing relationships with corporations and foundations for funds to support innovations in teacher education.

Colleges and universities must use a multifaceted approach for implementing technology, developing technology use by faculty and staff, continually upgrading facilities and equipment, and maintaining ongoing involvement with elementary and secondary schools and businesses. All facets are important and should be a part of the education unit's vision and plan.

These technology challenges for teacher education offer a parallel challenge to NCATE in its efforts to shape and lead teacher education reform overall. Through the accreditation process, NCATE is advancing reforms to ensure quality in the preparation of our nation's teachers. NCATE is committed to the vision of "the new professional individual who enters teaching on the first day of autonomous practice with a foundation of knowledge and skills - a true professional."

Increasingly central to the role of the new professional teacher is the ability to employ technology to improve student learning and to employ technology in the many facets of professional work. This will require new understandings, new approaches, new roles, new forms of professional growth, and new attitudes.

NCATE is potentially one of the most important agents in ensuring that new teacher graduates know how to employ educational technology effectively. Through its accreditation function and by assuming supportive and consultative roles, NCATE can play a vital part in realizing the vision of technology's potential for improving America's schools. However, for NCATE to exert its influence in this process, many changes and initiatives must be undertaken. The existence of this task force is evidence that NCATE recognizes and accepts this responsibility.

In accordance with its charge, the Task Force on Technology and Teacher Education makes the following recommendations, which its members believe will provide NCATE with direction in helping to create the kind of technology-proficient new professional teacher that has been envisioned in the preceding pages. These recommendations will help assure that the vision held by the task force members for technology use in schools is supported by the schools and colleges of education that prepare the new professional teacher.

The Task Force on Technology and Teacher Education recommendations address three major areas: 1) NCATE's leadership role in stimulating more effective use of technology in teacher education programs; 2) using technology to improve the existing accreditation process and to reconceptualize accreditation for the 21st century; and 3) improving NCATE's internal operations through greater and more effective uses of technology.

Recommendations for Stimulating Effective Use of Technology in Teacher Education


    1. NCATE should require schools, colleges, and departments of education to have a vision and plan for technology that reinforces their conceptual model for teacher education.

      In building its conceptual framework, each institution should indicate how it is attending to the way it believes technology will have an impact on P-12 schools and on its own teacher education program. The institution's vision should be accompanied by a plan indicating how its vision will be realized. Details of the plan and the precise statement of the vision may vary greatly from one institution to another; what is important is that each institution has a process in place to attend to the opportunities available to it through technology.

      Components of the technology plan could include such items as the goals, objectives, and outcomes for technology use; how equipment and software will be acquired; how technology priorities will be established; how faculty and staff development will occur; how the college efforts will link to and be reinforced by public school initiatives and plans; how connection to the Internet will occur; how technology can support a continuous improvement model of teacher education; and what the education unit expects of its teacher education graduates regarding technology competence.

    2. NCATE, working with other professional organizations such as the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), should encourage each school, college, and department of education to establish and explore the use of modern communications technology in carrying out its various functions and responsibilities.

      It should be a goal to have every NCATE-accredited institution accessible through the World Wide Web. Web technology can be used to provide information about programs, faculty, courses, and the conceptual model for preparing teachers; to promote and enhance communication between and among faculty and students; to provide students with access to learning resources; and to facilitate the accreditation process, to name but a few uses. Education units at NCATE-accredited institutions should be leading the way in the multiple uses of web technology. Graduates of these institutions should be thoroughly skilled in professional and classroom applications of web technology.

    3. NCATE, working with other professional organizations such as AACTE, should identify and make available to all interested institutions exemplary practices of technology use in the preparation of teachers for the 21st century.

      There is a need for institutions just starting along the technology trail to learn from other institutions that have already addressed some of the issues and found some answers. NCATE might list on its web page institutions that have been cited or identified as having exemplary practices in technology (this could also occur in other areas in addition to technology), with hyperlinks to the web pages of the identified institutions where more information on the innovation or exemplary practice could be found.

      NCATE's web page could help to create benchmarks of exemplary practice in a variety of institutions. These models can stimulate visions of the future; give examples of effective planning processes; provide demonstrations of new technology applications; and showcase examples of a changing teacher education culture that promotes curriculum experimentation, collaborative learning, faculty development, and better linkages to P-12 schools, other units within the college or university, and the larger community. NCATE could also direct teacher educators to resources available from organizations conducting research on technology and teacher education.

Recommendations For Using Technology to Improve the Accreditation Process

The committee makes two major sets of recommendations regarding the use of technology to improve the accreditation process. The first relates to the use of technology to improve or otherwise enhance the accreditation process as it is currently being performed. These recommendations relate to making accreditation more efficient and less costly, or to adding information sources or displays that are not readily accomplished by the current means. These recommendations are made to improve or expand NCATE accreditation through current technologies and those that we foresee in the near future.

The second set of recommendations relates to fundamentally reshaping what the accreditation process looks like and what it is designed to accomplish. These recommendations relate to the "technology generation after next" in which NCATE is not encumbered by what accreditation is now or the limits of current technologies. These recommendations urge NCATE to assume a future-oriented stance, one in which issues of technology use are thoroughly embedded in the fabric of models for teaching, learning, and teacher education. Thus, these new accreditation standards and processes would have a strong influence on how NCATE institutions conduct their business and evaluate their own progress. NCATE can be a lever for technology reform, as it has been in other such areas as multiculturalism and conceptual models of teacher education.

In essence, the committee recommends that NCATE undertake two processes: 1) to make better use of technology within the current accreditation processes, and 2) to undertake a new, developmental effort, separately funded and voluntarily selected by institutions that want to engage in such a process and would benefit from it. These institutions would help NCATE rethink and redesign teacher education accreditation for the early 21st century.

Improving the Current Accreditation Process


    1. NCATE should revise its standards to require institutions to articulate, as part of their conceptual model, the role they envision technology will play in the preparation of teacher candidates and how these candidates are expected to use technology when they assume teaching responsibilities in elementary and secondary schools.

      The members of the task force believe strongly that technology can and should affect how teachers are prepared and how they carry out their teaching roles. Consequently, task force members believe that expectations for technology use should be a part of the standards, not just present as indicators. We are past the time when schools, colleges, and departments of education that are extremely deficient in preparing teachers to use technology should be allowed to prepare teachers for the 21st century. Appendix B lists current technology expectations for accredited schools of education.

    2. NCATE should establish pilot projects with a few institutions to implement and evaluate state-of-the-art uses of technology in the current accreditation process.

      A number of universities are already technologically sophisticated and willing to engage in exploring how these technologies could be used to improve the existing accreditation process. Some examples might include displaying faculty vitae, providing electronic copies of the catalog and course syllabi, using electronic portfolios of teacher education students to determine if content standards are being met, using digital school portfolio software that enable education units to "tell their stories" in representational and creative ways, using interactive television (ITV) as a way of interviewing teacher education graduates and school officials located at a distance from the main campus, using chat rooms to involve more faculty members in discussions with the Board of Examiners (BOE), using web technology to facilitate joint NCATE/state visits in partnership states, and providing reconceptualized exhibit rooms that are available on-line to BOE members, thus allowing them to spend more time during the visit talking to people rather than reading paper documents in an exhibit room. Appendix C provides a display of types of information that could be transmitted electronically during accreditation reviews (only available in the printed version of this report).

      These pilot projects should be conducted both by institutions seeking initial accreditation and those pursuing continuing accreditation. A systematic evaluation component should be incorporated into these pilot projects. Every effort should be made to include in these pilot projects a diversity of institutional types.

    3. NCATE should encourage the various principals in the accreditation process to use electronic means to communicate and to store and retrieve data.

      For example, institutions could submit Institutional Reports on disk or in electronic form, such as web page templates; BOE reports could be submitted electronically; and the annual Joint Data Collection System could be submitted using a web page template.

    4. NCATE should continue to expand its web site as it identifies additional functions and sources of information that can be made available through web technology.

      As NCATE's use of web technology develops and expands, every effort should be made to include mechanisms for monitoring the most frequently accessed information sources.

    5. NCATE should pilot the use of electronic folio reviews in the accreditation process.

      Institutions must submit folios of their curricula to specialized professional associations to determine if the curricula meet the association's standards. Currently, these folios are submitted in paper form. NCATE should implement a pilot test use of electronic folio reviews via the WWW, including the training of folio preparers, folio reviewers, and state partnership personnel. The task force recommends that NCATE work with one or more of its constituent organizations to pilot test this process.

Reconceptualizing the Assumptions and Process of Accreditation

NCATE, through its accreditation process, must take a leadership role in assisting schools, colleges, and departments of education in preparing teachers for the 21st century. The classrooms of the 21st century will be dynamic and subject to constant change. The preparation of teachers for those classrooms of tomorrow will be critical in helping to transform teaching and learning. We are at a unique moment in time, one that requires NCATE to provide leadership to nudge institutions toward setting and meeting higher standards in the preparation of teachers. This process is dynamic, not static. As one task force member stated, "NCATE is accrediting a moving target. The situation may be likened to training the pilots while the plane is still being built."

The task force members believe that NCATE needs to initiate a process for examining the assumptions and practices of the current accreditation system. Quality assurance is likely to remain the primary function of accreditation, but how NCATE will ensure that the institutions it accredits establish and maintain quality will almost certainly change over time. Performance-based licensure and technology use are certain to have ramifications for how accreditation is implemented. The task force strongly urges NCATE to implement a "break the mold" perspective to push the boundaries of current accreditation practice to see what might be feasible and desirable for accreditation in the 21st century.

NCATE should begin a process to develop a new model of accreditation for the 21st century that would incorporate conceptual and pragmatic issues related to information technologies, teaching and learning, and teacher education. NCATE should invite institutions that are willing to participate in an exploratory continuing accreditation process with NCATE to develop new standards and to examine a fundamentally different accreditation model and process, one in which technology plays a major role. One example might focus on how technology can assist in the move to performance-based licensing and accreditation. (Performance-based licensing refers to a system by which state teaching licenses are granted or denied based on the assessment of an individual's teaching performance, while performance-based accreditation means that accreditation decisions will be based in part on information about the performance of candidates and institutions in meeting specified standards.) As more states explore the possibilities of performance-based licensing and accreditation, technology will play a critical role in the assessment process. Still another possibility is to work with software developers to create software/network environments that are specifically designed to the particular needs of new accreditation processes. What the specific accreditation model might look like cannot be anticipated by this task force, but new and exciting possibilities should emerge from the process.

Improving NCATE's Operations Through Better Use of Technology


    1. Develop a strategic information technology plan.

      At the present time NCATE does not have a strategic information technology plan to help guide the organization in carrying out its business. NCATE has employed a consultant firm to assist in the development of a database, but has not developed a fully functional strategic information technology plan. The strategic information technology plan should support NCATE's business and programmatic activities, and should serve as:

      • a vehicle for discussing and building consensus on a definition of problems, relative and absolute priorities of solutions, preferred technologies, organizational structures, and other related factors;
      • justification for future expenditures, demonstrating that specific initiatives are conceived as part of a coherent whole, that alternatives have been considered, and that forethought and consideration are present;
      • a road map to guide future information management activities; and
      • a yardstick for measuring future progress, since the plan will indicate the specific activities that should be under way at any point.

      The strategic information technology plan should define the information needs, the applications, and the supporting technical environment that NCATE wants to have in place in the near future; and contain a strategy and timetable, covering three to five years, for the implementation of the new information systems and associated technology.

    2. Clarify the criteria for the selection of Board of Examiners (BOE) and Unit Accreditation Board (UAB) members, and incorporate technology issues into their training.

      NCATE should ensure that these board members possess basic technology competencies, such as word processing, navigating the web, e-mail use, and navigating a CD-ROM. As more of the accreditation process makes use of technology, it is essential that BOE and UAB members be sensitive to technology issues and be able to apply standards relating to technology in an effective manner. One way in which examiners can play a powerful role as visitors to a campus is by asking questions of key administrators regarding allocations of funds that have been set aside for technology infrastructure, for faculty development, and for technical support.

      NCATE could develop case-based training materials that would utilize technology and multimedia to support a variety of learning/training goals, including training in what the various standards mean and how different cases might be evaluated. Such cases might also be shared with institutions seeking initial accreditation to help them better understand the accreditation process and how judgments and decisions are made.

    3. Examine and redefine the Joint Data Collection System (JDCS) to ensure that it collects the most important and useful data, which can then be easily accessed for aggregate analysis.

      There is a general sense among task force members that the data currently collected could be improved to aid teacher education. NCATE and AACTE should seriously rethink the JDCS, determine what purposes it is intended to serve, and what ongoing analyses are needed. This reconsidered purpose would then support a redesign to make effective use of technology and electronic data entry or submission. For example, NCATE and AACTE should ensure that data collected are in a standard format. This could be accomplished by formatting disks or providing web-based templates, and asking institutions to fill in the data rather than use paper reports. Use of key words will make searching and analysis easier and more powerful. NCATE and AACTE should also work with the various state departments of education to coordinate their data needs with those of the states to reduce duplication of effort.

      Underfunding of technology efforts in teacher education remains a serious problem for many NCATE-accredited institutions, while at the same time both state and federal governments are expending huge amounts of money to initiate technology infusion into the elementary and secondary schools of our nation. NCATE can play a key advocacy role by working with policymakers at state and federal levels to help them understand the significance of teacher education for the effective implementation of technology in P-12 schools, and by securing their support for public and private investments for technology applications in teacher education. NCATE should also initiate discussions with state departments of education regarding licensure issues relating to technology and teacher competence. In pursuing these and other activities, NCATE should continue to collaborate with other teacher education organizations, especially the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, Association of Teacher Educators, International Society for Technology in Education, Association for Educational Communications and Technology, and the International Technology Education Association.

      NCATE is in a unique leadership position to help advance the use of technology in teacher education. Graduates of teacher education programs must be prepared to make productive use of technology in their professional lives and use technology to help students learn more effectively. There is much to be learned about how best to accomplish this goal. NCATE and its constituent organizations and institutions can enter into a cooperative venture to advance knowledge of how to prepare teachers for the learning environments of tomorrow through effective accreditation practice.

from "A Technical Guide to Teleconferencing and Distance Learning," 3rd edition