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Faculty Member Part of Group Awarded for Teacher-Preparation Research

David holding the award plague on campus

March 4, 2021

A University of Northern Colorado (UNC) faculty member was one of four individuals who received this year’s Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).

David SlykhuisDavid Slykhuis, Ph.D., assistant dean of UNC’s College of Natural Health Sciences, interim department head of Human Services and director of the Math and Science Teaching Institute, was part of a four-person team who developed the Teacher Educator Technology Competencies (TETCs). The goal of their research is to offer recommendations on what teacher educators know about technology so they can better prepare future teachers to use technology in their classrooms.

Others who received the award were Teresa Foulger, Arizona State University; Kevin Graziano, Nevada State College; and Denise Schmidt-Crawford, Iowa State University.

The Edward C. Pomeroy Award recognizes contributions through either distinguished service to the teacher-education community or the development and promotion of outstanding practices in teacher education at the collegiate, state or national level.

“We are deeply honored to receive this award from the AACTE because not only is it prestigious, but we collectively feel that this is recognition of our work in moving the teacher-preparation field forward in better preparing teachers with technology,” Slykhuis said.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology released the National Educational Technology Plan, which stated that teacher-preparation programs are responsible for preparing teacher candidates to successfully utilize and become familiar with technologies in their classrooms. Slykhuis, Foulger, Graziano and Schmidt-Crawford took this and developed the TETCs to support the redesign of teaching in teacher-education programs, resulting in 12 competencies with related criteria to define each competency:

The 12 competencies state that teacher educators will:

  1. Design instruction that utilizes content-specific technologies to enhance teaching and learning.
  2. Incorporate pedagogical approaches that prepare teacher candidates to effectively use technology.
  3. Support the development of the knowledge, skills and attitudes of teacher candidates as related to teaching with technology in their content area.
  4. Use online tools to enhance teaching and learning.
  5. Use technology to differentiate instruction to meet diverse learning needs.
  6. Use appropriate technology tools for assessment.
  7. Use effective strategies for teaching online and/or blended/hybrid learning environments.
  8. Use technology to connect globally with a variety of regions and cultures.
  9. Address the legal, ethical and socially responsible use of technology in education.
  10. Engage in ongoing professional development and networking activities to improve the integration of technology in teaching.
  11. Engage in leadership and advocacy for using technology.
  12. Apply basic troubleshooting skills to resolve technology issues.

“At that time, the most common way to teach technology was to have students take a standalone class as part of their teacher-prep programs,” Slykhuis said. “We developed the TETCs with the idea that every future educator in a teacher-prep program would have all of these competencies so that when teacher candidates finish the program then they would be better prepared to use technology.”

Slykhuis and the others were recognized at the virtual AACTE Awards Program in February. The program recognizes excellence in schools, colleges and departments of education and includes a rigorous selection process. The AACTE’s awards encourage all member institutions to strengthen the profession of teacher preparation through innovation, high standards and leadership. 

—Written by Katie Corder; photo at top by Woody Myers