Leading the way for technology in teacher preparation


Erik Ketcherside

Associate Professor Teresa Foulger is spearheading an international effort to use research and crowdsourcing techniques to establish a list of competencies for teacher educators: the Teacher Education Technology Competencies project. Those competencies would be used to support preservice teachers in developing their ability to use technology in their teaching.

Teresa FoulgerWhen the U.S. Department of Education was organizing its Advancing Educational Technology in Teacher Preparation Summit for December in Washington, D.C., Foulger was one of a few outside presenters invited to address the gathering. A DOE policy brief published in conjunction with the summit features a section on Foulger and TETC.

The brief also credits a paper co-authored by Punya Mishra, associate dean of scholarship and professor in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “What Is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge?” was published in Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.

Q&A with Teresa Foulger

How was TETC selected for the summit and the policy brief?

The DOE’s Office of Educational Technology heard about the project. They reached out to me because an effort such as this is directly called for in the 2016 National Educational Technology Plan. This led to Joseph South, the DOE director of technology, serving the project in an advisory capacity. He invited me to present at the Higher Education Innovator Summit, and included the description of the project in the policy brief.

You also discussed such a project in an article in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education.

The article contains the background and makes a claim for why competencies are needed. It calls for other colleges to get on board with the ideas in NETP16 and to support the competency development process, either becoming directly involved or by being champions of the national project.

What kind of response are you getting from your peers in other teacher preparation programs?

Overwhelmingly positive. At the summit, when I presented the line of thinking behind why we need the competencies, there were heads nodding and lots of positive side comments. Afterward, many of the participants talked to me about the need. At the end of the meeting, I was asked to chair a national working group comprising participants from the summit who were specifically interested in NETP16’s call for a set of technology competency expectations for university professors and teacher candidates.

So the project of establishing a set of competencies really relies on strong collaboration between people and institutions.

I recognized from the beginning that the more people and organizations involved in the process, the more fitting the competencies would be, and the more buy-in there would be. I created an advisory group that meets twice a month to help define the development process by crowdsourcing literature, followed by the Delphi method, whereby educational technology experts provide opinions on cycles of refinement. The Delphi methodology is being conducted presently by the research team [Foulger; Kevin Graziano, Nevada State College; Denise Schmidt, Iowa State University; David Slykhuis, James Madison University], and the organizations listed at the bottom of our website are involved in the advisory group.

What happens after the collaborative process?

We have an accepted conference paper for the SITE conference in March [Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education], where we plan on releasing the competencies. We hope they are a hit, but we can’t know for sure. The outcome is a result of the input from the 18 Delphi participants, and we have several rounds of feedback to go before a final product will be ready. We are on round five of the feedback loops and things look promising.