MADISON — With K-12 students returning to school throughout Wisconsin this week and next, it’s appropriate that a highlight of the September 7-8 meeting of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will be a presentation on technology and teacher education.
On Thursday, the Education Committee will learn about the work of a UW System task force that has been meeting since last year to:
- Review standards from national and professional organizations;
- Review standards for PK-12 students;
- Collect information on current practices in UW System programs; and
- Work with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on implementation of new teacher education rules.
These efforts are designed to establish best practices for the use of classroom technology by teachers who are just graduating from UW System institutions, as well as teachers who are already in the field. Another goal is to ensure that all faculty who teach prospective teachers have a level of technical proficiency and can model best practices. Finally, the task force seeks to ensure that all faculty and teacher education students have adequate hardware and software, as well as technical and instructional design support.
The presentation to the Education Committee will be made by Nancy Kaufman, assistant vice chancellor at UW-Oshkosh; Dana Nelson, director of PK-16 initiatives for the UW System, and Eileen Schroeder, associate professor in the Department of Educational Foundations at UW-Whitewater. They are members of the 19-person task force, which is made up of faculty, education deans, the technology director of the Milwaukee Public Schools, a UW System institution technology director, and technology representatives of DPI, a Cooperative Educational Service Agency (CESA), and Technology for Educational Achievement (TEACH).
“Technology is part of the everyday life of the school for both teachers and students,” says Nelson, “just as it is in the workplace and the home. Significant resources are being invested in school technology. Used appropriately, that technology can be a tool to enhance student achievement.”
Yet only 23% of new and veteran teachers are “well prepared” to integrate educational technology into the curriculum, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. In Wisconsin, a DPI survey indicated only 17% of teachers were integrating technology into the curriculum.
The task force hopes to increase such numbers, by emphasizing the importance of technology in the preparation and continuing education of teachers.
“To thrive in today’s world and tomorrow’s workplace,” says Nelson, “our students must learn how to learn, must learn how to think, and must have a solid understanding of how technology works and what it can do. For that to happen, teachers must also understand technology and be able to model its use in the classroom. That begins at the university.”
The presentation at 1:30 p.m. in 1820 Van Hise Hall will include a brief demonstration of current examples of best practices. Next steps for the task force include developing a white paper on technology plans for teacher education, planning and implementing campus-based and Systemwide initiatives in this area, disseminating additional best practices, and seeking support from external stakeholders.
The UW System biennial budget proposal approved last week includes a $2.0 million request designed to respond to K-12 teacher training needs in Wisconsin. One part of that request would increase the number of urban teachers with technology skills educated at UW-Whitewater by 110. That initiative is a partnership involving the campus, Milwaukee Public Schools, the Milwaukee Area Technical College, and the Private Industry Council.
Also on Thursday at 1:30 p.m., the Business and Finance Committee will meet in 1920 Van Hise Hall and the Physical Planning and Funding Committee will meet in 1511 Van Hise Hall.
Among the highlights on the Business and Finance agenda will be consideration of an amended policy concerning senior citizen auditing of UW System classes. The revisions will implement an act of the Wisconsin legislature that took effect in May.
Also on the Business and Finance agenda will be resolutions that authorize UW-Madison to accept funds from the conversion of Blue Cross and Blue Shield to a for-profit stock corporation. The resolutions also initiate the process of obtaining nominations for the required oversight and advisory committee.
The full Board of Regents meeting is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 8 in 1820 Van Hise Hall.
Kevin Boatright, UW System