Out with Instructional Technology, In with Computer Science?

Are we throwing out the digital baby with the bathwater?

In June 2016, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to adopt the Digital Literacy and Computer Science curriculum frameworks.  A DESE workgroup is developing a new license for educators who provide instruction in the areas of computer science and programming. This new license would match the DLCS frameworks and be appropriate for teachers and districts that offer courses related to computer science covered under these frameworks.

While many schools and districts do not yet offer courses that fall under the DLCS frameworks, any district seeking to establish such courses would be need to find teachers who hold the requisite skills and hold the appropriate state teacher license. DESE has an existing Instructional Technology license. Teachers and specialists who work under the Instructional Technology license may be instructional coaches, adaptive technology specialists or provide instruction to students in a variety of courses or  using digital tools for collaboration and communication. DESE is considering sun-setting the Instructional Technology license in favor of the yet-to-be developed computer science license.

One concern is the Instructional Technology license subject matter knowledge requirements (SMK) have not been updated since 2003 and the existing license would not satisfy the content area knowledge requirements under the 2016 frameworks. However, institutions of higher educator that offer the DESE-approved programs required for Instructional Technology licenses have updated coursework and knowledge requirements to keep pace with developments in technology. Currently, there is no Supervisor/Director or district-level administrator licensure that is specific to instructional technology, computer science or information technology services. The MassCAN 2015-2018 Strategic Plan: Implementing Computer Science Education in Massachusetts warns specifically against rushing into action implementing policies related to instruction in computer science.

You can let DESE know where you stand on this question. Specifically, this issue appears as part of the Licensure Streamlining Feedback Survey 2016 in question #11 under Miscellaneous:

Develop a new computer science license while eliminating or merging the existing instructional technology license. (Rationale: the development of the 2016 digital learning and computer science standards creates an opportunity to update licensure in the area of computer science. Furthermore, the SMKs for instructional technology have not been updated since 2001).

Outside of this survey, CEPP has received feedback from a number of educators centering on these questions:

  • Should Massachusetts cease to issue new Instructional Technology licenses in favor of a new Digital Literacy and Computer Science license? (Note that educators who already hold an Instructional Technology license would be able to keep that license active and valid for employment).
  • Should the Instructional Technology License remain available for educators who seek to be leaders in the field of instructional and adaptive technologies and keep a Digital Literacy and Computer Science license as a separate and specialized field?
  • Should DESE update the existing subject matter knowledge requirements for the Instructional Technology license?

CEPP has created a side-by-side comparison of the Instructional Technology licensure requirements and the information available related to the Digital Literacy and Computer Science frameworks.

Instructional Technology

Digital Literacy and Computer Science

Instructional Technology Subject Matter Knowledge Requirements 603 CMR 7.06(14)

2016 Massachusetts Digital Literacy and Computer Science Curriculum Framework
(a) The following topics will be address on a test of subject matter knowledge:

1.Technology tools for word processing, databases, spreadsheets, print/graphic utilities, multi- and hypermedia, presentations, videos for the purpose of formal and informal assessment, instruction, and administration for professional and instructional use.

2.Communications and research tools such as email, World Wide Web, web browsers and other online applications that link to the state standards and requirements, for professional and instructional use.

3.Criteria for selection, evaluation, and use of appropriate computer/technology based materials to support a variety of instructional methods.

4. Ethical and social issues surrounding privacy, copyright, and crime relating to educational technology and resources.

(b) The following topics shall be included in an approved program but will not be address on a test of subject matter knowledge.

1. Use of resources for adaptive/assistive devices that provide access for all students.

2. Methods to support classroom teachers and other school personnel in improving student learning through appropriate use of technology in the classroom, including consultation techniques and professional development.

 

 

(Strands and topics)

1.       Computing and Society

a.       Safety and Security

b.      Ethics and Laws

c.       Interpersonal and Societal Impact

2.       Digital Tools and Collaboration

a.       Digital Tools

b.      Collaboration and Communication

c.       Research

3.       Computing Systems

a.       Computing Devices

b.      Human and Computer Partnerships

c.       Networks

d.      Services

4.       Computational Thinking

a.       Abstraction

b.      Algorithms

c.       Data

d.      Programming and Development

e.      Modeling and Simulation

2003 Massachusetts General Requirements for an Instructional Technology, All Levels, Initial License

No requirements for the DLCS License have been established.

1. Bachelor’s Degree

2. Passing Score on Communications and Literacy MTEL

3. Hold an Instructional Technology Preliminary Licenses. The requirements include at least 10 hours of coursework, seminars or  mentored employment in each of:

a. Technology tools for word processing, databases, spreadsheets, print/graphic utilities, multi- and hypermedias, presentations, videos for the purpose of formal and informal assessment, instruction, and administration for professional and instructional use

b. Communications and research tools such as email, world wide web, web browsers, and other online applications that link to the state standards and requirements, for professional and instructional use

c. Coverage of: Ethical and social issues surrounding privacy, copyright, and crime relating to educational technology and resources

d. Use of resources for adaptive/assistive devices that provide access for all students

e. Methods to support classroom teachers and other school personnel in improving student learning through appropriate use of technology in the classroom, including consultation techniques and professional development

f.  Criteria for selection, evaluation, and use of appropriate computer/technology based materials to support a variety of instructional methods

4. Completion of an Approved Program

a. Bridgewater State University

b. Framingham State University

c. Lesley University

 

 

 

 

 

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