Today’s society demands that K-12 schools produce students skilled in “communication, technology, leadership, teamwork, creativity, management, problem-solving, production, risk taking, and cultural awareness.” (Business Higher Education Forum, 2003; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2003b; Thornburg, 2002) if they are to be successful. In order to meet this challenge K-12 schools have moved to technology enhanced curriculum, changed how they assess teacher and student performance, and determined what knowledge and skills are now considered important in the workplace and for continuous learning (Merrill Lynch & Co., 2000).
The demand for knowledge-based K-12 graduates has resulted in new standards and expectations for both in-service and pre-service teachers a well as educational administrators.
In Alabama the need for knowledge-based professional education preparation programs and the projected growth in retirement of teachers over the next ten years prompted the Alabama Department of Education to apply for the Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology grant funding. Through this funding a consortium of fifteen universities, the Alabama Department of Education, and one business partner worked to research, develop, and implement P-20 technology standards designed to improve K-12 student achievement and meet the high standards that the governor, the state superintendent, and the state board of education have initiated. Utilizing the results of this work, ten technology standards, based on the ISTE standards for both initial and advanced professional teacher certification programs were developed and presented to the Alabama State Board of Education. The Board approved the new standards, March 2002. The UAB Professional Education Unit played a dominate role by: (1) assisting with the development of technology standards for Alabama’s Teacher Education Programs, (2) housing grant staff, and (3) providing evaluation services for the grant. These standards have been integrated into the professional education unit’s existing courses at the initial and advanced levels and implemented spring 2003.