Education Department Receives National Award
Posted February 27, 2002
HOLLAND -- The department of education at Hope
College has received one of only six "Distinguished
Achievement Awards" nationwide for effectively blending
technology into the college's teacher education program.
The awards were presented by the International
Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to institutions
"exhibiting exemplary models" for integrating the society's
"National Educational Technology Standards" (NETS) for
Teachers. The six programs were honored during a luncheon
on Tuesday, Feb. 26, during the annual meeting of the
American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education, held
in New York City.
The ISTE has developed standards to help students
learn to use technology effectively, not only in school but
in life beyond the classroom as well. A set of related
standards for teachers emphasizes their role in enabling
students to do so. The teacher standards include
understanding of technology operations and concepts; the
ability to plan learning experiences supported by
technology; and the ability to apply technology in
professional development, communicating with others and
assessing students' achievement.
Correspondingly, the department of education at
Hope has weaved technology throughout its curriculum. The
process began in 1993, as the department began to consider
ways that technology could be blended naturally into the
teacher education program.
"We decided that we would take these standards and
see how well they would support what we were already doing
in our classes," said Susan Cherup, professor of education,
who has played a leadership role in the process. "We have
now totally integrated the technology standards for
everything we're doing."
The reason for the approach, according to Cherup,
is two-fold: first, to make technology an on-going part of
the students' experience, rather than an add-on that might
be forgotten or seem irrelevant; and, second, to give them a
chance to use technology just as they can when they graduate
and become teaching professionals.
For example, students in one of the department's
introductory classes now use PowerPoint to prepare and
present the journals that have long been a requirement of
the courses. In an upper-level class, students learn and
use the spread sheet program Excel to create and maintain a
grade book for their field placement. The department
recently acquired a digital video camera, to provide another
option for students as they tap the computer's potential in
creating reports and making presentations.
Cherup also hopes that the approach helps keep the
role of technology in perspective: that it isn't a
replacement for good teaching, but a tool to complement it;
an additional way to reach students and help them achieve.
"The technology won't make you a good teacher,"
she said. "You have to go in and enhance the learning. But
I can see how it's helping students succeed."
The college's teacher education program prepares
Hope students to teach in elementary and secondary schools.
Students in the program progress through three levels of
preparation: introductory courses, professional sequence
courses and a professional semester that includes a full-
time student-teaching experience. The department has 11
full-time and two half-time faculty, with approximately 525
students enrolled in the program.
This is the first year that the ISTE has presented
the "Distinguished Achievement Award." In addition to Hope,
the schools with programs honored included: Arizona State
University West; Ohio State University-Mansfield; University
of Texas-Austin; University of Virginia; and Wake Forest