In December, I had the privilege of attending the Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation Summit sponsored by the White House and the Office of Educational Technology. The second day of this event was held at the White House, complete with background checks and bomb-sniffing dogs. This meeting focused on four guiding principles:
- Focusing on the active use of technology to enable learning and teaching through creation, production, and problem solving.
- Building sustainable, program-wide systems of professional learning for higher education instructors to strengthen and continually refresh their capacity to use technological tools to enable transformative learning and teaching.
- Ensuring pre-service teachers’ experiences with educational technology are program-deep and program-wide rather than one-off courses separate from their methods courses.
- Aligning the above efforts with research-based standards, frameworks, and credentials recognized across the field.
These four action points should resonate with all SITE members and all those interested in the infusion of technology in teacher preparation. I believe SITE helps meet the second principle of providing professional development on the use of technology and implementation of technology directly. Hopefully, you leave every SITE conference enabled to transform your teaching and your students’ learning!
One of the projects highlighted at the White House Summit was the development of the Teacher Education Technology Competencies. Hopefully, you are familiar with this project as we called on SITE membership to contribute to the crowdsourcing of competencies for technology use by higher education faculty. We have also had an Invited Commentary published in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education (http://www.learntechlib.org/p/174099). These completed competencies will be revealed at the SITE Conference in Austin, please plan on joining us at the unveiling.
In November, I attended the E-Learn Conference in Washington, DC. E-Learn is a conference by AACE. I noticed several similarities that made E-Learn feel familiar, the helpful AACE staff, the welcoming attitude of leadership and attendees, the focus on technology in education. There were, however, also a number of differences helped distinguish E-Learn. E-Learn focused on the use of technology more narrowly around E-Learning, while expanding the view of education to include all areas in higher education as well as education in other fields such as continuing education in professional fields not completed in University settings. If your conference travel permits, I would recommend putting E-Learn on your list. For future locations, visit the AACE Conferences page. The location was also where SITE will be held in 2018 and it is in a very convenient location to Reagan Airport, the Metro and Old Town Alexandria!
Lastly, some SITE business and reminders. First and foremost, if you haven’t yet submitted your proposal for the SITE Conference in Austin, there is still time, the second call has been extended to January 16! Encourage your colleagues to submit as well so we can expand the SITE family. Remember there are opportunities to participate in SITE leadership each year. Each SIG will be electing a co-chair at the meeting in Austin. Look for additional details about how to get on the ballot from your SIG Chairs. The conclusion of the SITE conference in Austin will also be the conclusion of my tenure as President of SITE. I have thoroughly enjoyed my years leading SITE and appreciate the trust and support afforded to me from SITE members and leaders. I am excited to work with the incoming President, Dr. Denise Crawford, as SITE continues to thrive and serve such a vital role to all those focusing on technology and teacher education.
See you in Austin!
– David Slykhuis, SITE President