Technology Education Teacher Certification

Throughout all of human history, people have used technology to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and adapt to the challenges of their environment. With the advent of systematized science, the rate at which technology was created and adapted dramatically increased. And after the advent of computers, it increased yet again. Now, with computing technology connecting people across the entire globe, the rate of technological change is faster than it has ever been. Students today grow up in worlds entirely different from those experienced hardly a generation ago.

In light of such technological change, which increasingly impacts all walks of life, it is imperative that our schools are able to equip students with an adequate understanding of technology and its uses—even for those students who have no desires to enter a technical career. Whether a person works in a technological field or not, technology will still be a significant part of their environment and their choices. Therefore, we need teachers who can prepare students to be informed consumers of technology, so they can effectively extract the benefits technology has to offer. Technology educators are those people.

What is certification?

Certification of technology establishes a minimum level of expertise in the profession, identifying a core set of knowledge and standards that all teachers of technology should possess. Groups like the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) develop standards for this certification, which helps to develop and preserve the quality of technology education. Find certification requirements in your state, here.

(Note: The Education Technology Endorsement is a smaller program about teaching with technology, instead of about technology. If that’s the certification type you’re interested in, you will find information, here.)

Why Technology Education is so important

Just as English literacy is neccesary for modern life in America, so too is technological literacy. The ability to understand, assess, and use technology is a part of many careers—including many jobs that aren’t based upon technology, but use technological innovation to accoplish other ends, from tracking inventory and customers to preparing and serving a cappucino. Additionally, it is a part of everyday business transactions, including banking and shopping; and it’s even increasingly used in finding a spouse.

Meanwhile, economic growth is largely impacted by technological innovation; so in order to remain competitive with other countries, it’s important for out nation to place a strong emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. Technological innovation creates more options for production and trade, resulting in lower costs (and thus a higher standard of living for both the rich and the poor); in the case of medical and agricultural technology, it results to prolonged and even saved lives.

Technology is fundamentally about solving problems—applying knowledge and creativity in order to design a product or system that meets a need. Technology education, therefore, encourages students to examine their environments and develop alternatives and solutions. Those who excel in these skills may go on to become inventers and innovators, engineers and entrepreneurs; their technological problem-solving abilities will result in a more productive use of resources, thus freeing up other resources to meet more needs throughout our economy.

Obtaining certification

Becoming certified to teach education technology is similar to obtaining any other single-subject credential. Typically, this requires a bachelor’s degree with a major emphasis in technology: generally, you’ll need about 30 units of technology coursework, with at least 12 of those being upper-level units. Exact requirements vary from program to program and state to state; you’ll want to check with your college and state department of education before committing to a course of study, so you can decide if this needs to be a single major for you, or whether you’ll need to add a major or minor to your other coursework. Many classes might overlap with requirements for certification in teaching computer science or other related field; thus, you might be able to plan your undergraduate coursework such that you can obtain multiple endorsements.

After completing your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to enroll in an accredited teacher preparation program. At some colleges, this is integrated into the undergraduate degree; but in most places, classes specific to instructional methods, assessment in education, and pedagogy will be at the graduate level. Your teacher-preparation program will include a period of supervised student teaching, taking up to a full semester of study.

After completing you teacher preparation program, you will need to demonstrate expertise in the subject of technology by passing the approved state examination, usually a Praxis II test. The Praxis II will test you on educational pedagogy as applied to teaching technology; information and communication technologies; construction technologies and engineering concepts; manufacturing technologies and design concepts; and on energy, power, and transportation technologies.

Exact requirements for your credential vary by state; but state colleges make sure their programs are aligned with their state standards. You may be able to use your credential to teach in another state if that state has a reciprocity agreement; if not, you may need to take additional classes in order to meet your new state’s requirements for teaching technology.

How your training prepares you for your role as a technology teacher

Your technology teacher-preparation program will equip you with an understanding of technology as a subject area, including its history, context, relationship to society, specific application, and possibilities for the future.

Fundamental to your role as a technology teacher is the ability to articulate the concepts and principles of design—how to recognize them, describe them, and analyze them. In communicating these principles to students, you’ll engage in many demonstrations and projects that will help them to understand the processes of troubleshooting, research and development, invention and innovation of ideas, products and systems. You’ll also help them to understand how these processes relate to society and the economy.

Your technology teacher-preparation program will also equip you for the job of developing and adapting curriculum. You’ll be able to identify grade-appropriate goals and projects, and how to integrate them with other subject areas such as math, science, and language arts. You’ll be able to identify materials and resources that will improve teaching about technology, and incorporate up-to-date technological developments into your curriculum. A technology class never remains static, but is updated continuously to keep pace with its subject.

How Technology Education will impact your students and school

Technology can be one of the most fun and motivating subjects to teach. Lesson plans commonly include demonstrations, experiments, and hands-on material for students to explore and manipulate. Additionally, the subject matter itself is already meaningful to students, since they use technology in their everyday lives; thus, learning is reinforced outside the classroom, resulting in higher levels of engagement and retention. Furthermore, you can easily tap into your students’ excitement about movies and media—particularly in regards to science fiction—as you explore with them what kinds of things can be done, what kinds of things can’t be done… and what kinds of things can’t be done yet.

Technology classes will help your school advance toward meeting (or leading) state STEM guidelines, which is important for meeting both state and federal goals. Additionally, they may contribute to higher student achievement in mathematics and science. Making your school a leader in STEM education attracts the attention of parents, communities, and other schools—and sometimes, grant money as well.

Perhaps most importantly, you’ll instill in your students (and their parents) the concept that education is meaningful—that it is not just memorizing dates, vocabulary words, numbers, and uninteresting facts, but is in fact a means of comprehending and changing the world around us. The technology student is surrounded by tools that he or she can use and enjoy. Students with this perspective gain a sense of empowerment and confidence, and approach the world with more curiosity and a greater possibility of success.

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