Bull, G. L., & Bell, L. (2006). The 2006 National Technology Leadership Summit. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education [Online serial], 6(3). Retrieved from http://www.citejournal.org/volume-6/issue-3-06/editorial/the-2006-national-technology-leadership-summit

The 2006 National Technology Leadership Summit

by Glen L. Bull, University of Virginia; & Lynn Bell, University of Virginia

As many of you may know, Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE Journal) is a collaborative effort of five teacher educator associations representing the core content areas and educational technology. These include science education (ASTE), mathematics education (AMTE), English education (NCTE / CEE), and social studies education (NCSS / CUFA), in addition to educational technology (SITE). The sponsoring associations are listed on the opening page of the CITE Journal Web site with links to the home pages of each.

The CITE Journal is one tangible activity of a cross-disciplinary consortium of associations, the National Technology Leadership Coalition (NTLC). Representatives from these associations meet at a summit each year with editors of educational technology journals and national policy makers to advance effective uses of technology in teaching and teacher education. Recommendations and guidelines emerging from the summit are published in a range of educational technology journals and are featured on the programs of educational conferences. The goal is to accelerate the meaningful impact of digital technologies in education for the 21st century.

The 2005 summit, held at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, initiated an effort to identify key research issues regarding integration of technology in the core content areas. The deliberations of this summit served as a springboard for subsequent discussions within the technology committees of participating teacher education associations. The calendar in Table 1 lists the association meetings at which formal follow-up discussions were held.

Table 1
Calendar for Teacher Education Conferences in the 2005-2006 Academic Year With Technology Strand Sessions Expanding Upon the NTLC Leadership Summit
Calendar
Association
September
NTLC (Annual Technology Leadership Summit)
November
NCTE / CEE (English Education)
NCSS / CUFA (Social Studies Education)
January
ASTE (Science Education)
AMTE (Mathematics Education)
February
ATE (Teacher Education)
AACTE (Teacher Education)
March
SITE (Technology and Teacher Education)
May
AERA SIG-TACTL (Educational Research)
June
NAECTE (Early Childhood)
ISTE (Educational Technology)

This year of dialog culminated in two panel discussions at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) National Educational Computing Conference (NECC) and publication of a summary reflecting the perspective for each content area in Learning and Leading with Technology.

The 2006 summit will be held at the national headquarters of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) in Washington, DC. This meeting will build upon past work related to identification of Key Research Issues in the Core Content Areas and provide a forum for continuing discussions on Legislative Advocacy. A third theme, Open Digital Content, will be introduced this year.

Key Research Issues

The ultimate goal of identifying key research issues regarding integrating technology in the content areas is to encourage and facilitate effective research – research that will produce credible information useful to teacher educators, teachers, administrators, and policymakers.

One task force at the summit will consider appropriate next steps in this process. Its members will consider a proposal to review literature on the relationship between technology and student learning outcomes in each content area. This cross-disciplinary publication—possibly in the form of an NTLC monograph—could identify existing research, highlight exemplary studies, and consider implications for future research. The purpose of this review would be to facilitate the efforts of researchers working in these areas. The information gleaned may also serve as a springboard for integrating best practices into teacher education, as well as provide a rationale for researchers seeking funding.

Depending on the consensus of the task force, focus areas for the monograph may include research examining the effects of specific technologies (or technology-enhanced teaching strategies) on student learning, research on implementation strategies, and related teacher preparation and professional development.

Linking Research to Policy

Identifying areas for additional research is only an initial step in reaching our ultimate goal. Funding is needed to support comprehensive research programs and ensure that such work is systemic rather than isolated. For that reason, an NTLC legislative advocacy task force has been established. Janet Swenson, the Vice President of the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education (SITE) Teacher Education Council (and past president of the Conference on English Education) has provided leadership for NTLC efforts in this area.

ISTE and AACTE are examples of NTLC associations maintaining a legislative advocacy presence in Washington. Hilary Goldman serves as ISTE’s director of government affairs, while Jane West serves as AACTE’s vice president for government relations. Although this leading teacher education association and its counterpart in educational technology have not coordinated their advocacy efforts in the past, they are in the process of exploring how they might best work together.

The summit provides an opportunity for journal editors and representatives of teacher education associations representing the content areas to meet with these legislative advocates, so that through collaboration they can determine how existing research needs might best be coupled with advocacy efforts. The convergence of representatives from these respective spheres provides an opportunity to connect our academic work with real-world activities in the policy arena.

Open Educational Content

Open educational content is shared content that extends permission to others for modification, adaptation, and re-use. There are thousands of educational resources freely available on the Web. The challenge is to filter this mass of materials so that teachers can quickly find resources relevant to their specific needs.

The sheer volume of materials makes it challenging to identify and locate high quality materials that address a specific instructional objective. Teachers list the difficulty in sorting through resources available on the Internet as one of the top reasons they do not use Web-based materials more often.

There are a number of Web-based systems that allow users to exchange materials and content in other domains, such as eBay, Amazon, and Digg (a system for “non-hierarchical control of new articles” at www.digg.com). These emerging systems are effective demonstrations of collaborative reviews and ratings. Although these systems are not exact analogs or models for exchange of educational resources, they highlight characteristics that may be useful in creation of a parallel educational system.

With support from the Buck Institute for Education (www.bie.org) and the Global Educational Learning Community, the coming summit will provide a forum for consideration of key characteristics of system for identification of effective open educational content, with the goal of creating a prototype that may serve as proof-of-concept for such a system.

Summary

Much of the discourse about educational technology takes place in isolated contexts, within a single association or discipline. The value of cross-disciplinary discussions is two-fold: (a) it provides a broader perspective that may lead to more comprehensive insights, and (b) once a course of action is identified, a collective approach increases the effectiveness of the group.

If you are a CITE Journal reader, you can contribute to these discussions. Current activities are posted on the NTLS Web site (www.ntls.info). There is an associated blog. Feel free to contribute your thoughts and ideas to advance the conversation.