MST Times

Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Newsletter

Program Spotlight: CCTE’s Newest Program – Technology Specialist K-12 Certification

By • Nov 7th, 2011 • Category: Communication, Computing, and Technology Education

Educational technology has been available for over thirty years, but schools have proved remarkably resistant to using these new tools.  The Technology Specialist K-12 Certification is one of the newest MA programs offered by CCTE.  It prepares candidates to help K-12 school personnel integrate technology in their classrooms to promote student understanding.

Students in this program learn how to use technology in a way that fosters student-centered teaching, as they support classroom teachers in the design and implementation of technology-integrated projects.  They also learn about the importance of serving in leadership roles within a school, district or other educational settings. All students complete fieldwork and student teaching as part of this two-year degree. There are two tracks to this program:

Track 1 (Program Code: TETT) – Students who want initial teaching certification.

Track 2 (Program Code: TETS) – Students who are currently holding initial certification in another content area and are seeking initial certification to become an Educational Technology Specialist.

What Does an Educational Technology Specialist Actually Do?

There are a variety of roles for Technology Specialists in schools, including positions as technology coordinators, professional developers, technology directors, and technology teachers.  The candidates are prepared to support teachers across all content areas and they are also prepared to advise peers and school leaders about the use of technology.

Meet One of Our Alumni: Itewari Ekpebu-Bryan

Itewari Ekpebu-Bryan, a May 2011 graduate of the Technology Specialist Certification program, was born and raised in Nigeria. She left Nigeria because of political unrest that was affecting the nation’s educational system and came to study in the United States. She pursued a BA in Art, concentrating in Electronic Design and Multimedia, at City University of New York. Her initial goal was to become a graphic designer. “I was fascinated with media and technology, because I was coming from a country where technology was not widely used.”

As Itewari completed her coursework to become a graphics designer, she worked after school as a tutor for a private school.  She realized that students became more engaged when she introduced technology to help students with their lessons. It was Itewari’s work after school that sparked her interest in education and technology.

After graduating with her BA, Itewari took a few years off to focus on her family. When she was ready to return to work, she felt a Masters Degree would make her more marketable. She knew she wanted to work in the educational technology field. “A degree in educational technology is sustainable. Anyone can design a web site these days, but not everyone has the skill needed to combine education and technology. The degree is very versatile. I can teach and not be just a techie.”

What appealed to Itewari most about the Technology Specialist program at TC was the ability to obtain a New York State K-12 teaching certificate. After speaking with other TC alumni and a conversation with Dr. Ellen Meier, program coordinator for the Technology Specialist program, Itewari was excited to be admitted to the program. “I loved the idea of getting a degree where I could go into schools and work with kids and technology.”

What Itewari loved most about her time at TC was the student teaching practicum, MSTU 4700. “I was forced to confront my insecurities about teaching, and this class was a safe place to discuss topics like classroom management. My cohort and I supported each other during our challenging moments while student teaching.” Itewari was also able to make connections between her coursework and what she observed in schools. “It was eye-opening to see how my cooperating teachers and mentors were using different technologies, especially those I had learned about in my TC classes.”

Itewari now works as an Instructional Designer at Montclair State University. She supports teachers and professors as they integrate the use of interactive technologies into their teaching. Her experience working with innovative educators during student teaching, now helps her work with professors who are using emerging technologies to guide their course work. Her work with curriculum design helps her with appropriate decisions about integrating technology.  “I help them think about how to create a meaningful experience for their students using online technologies that I learned about while working in schools.”

Itewari plans to return to K-12 schools in the future. “The Technology Specialist degree does a lot for me and fulfills me educationally. I apply a lot of what I learned to my work in higher education, but I do want to return to K-12 teaching. I can see myself building a career over the years ahead.”

Need More Information on the Technology Specialist Certification Program?

For more information about this program and degree requirements, visit http://www.tc.edu/mst/CCTE/ or contact the program track coordinator, Dr. Ellen Meier, at ebm15@tc.columbia.edu.

By Sharmin A. Hakim, Communication, Computing and Technology in Education Student

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