New Digital Literacy Requirements for Preservice Teachers

preservice teachers
Written by Lori Gracey

A new law seeks to provide preservice teachers with more training and resources in digital literacy, helping them fully use technology for student learning.

As TCEA works with new teachers each year, we hear over and over again one common need. These educators new to our profession are very comfortable using technology themselves for content absorption, but wish that they had more training in using technology to better help students learn. In other words, they do not feel confident in teaching with technology.

In response to this need, TCEA worked with Senator Hughes, Representative Koop, Representative Bohac, and Senator Taylor to pass SB 1839 during the 2017 Texas legislative session. This bill deals with the certification of preservice teachers and is intended to ensure that:

  • Candidates for teaching certificates will be instructed, evaluated, and, if necessary, remediated on their digital literacy.  
  • That instruction will be:
    • Aligned with the recently revised International Society for Technology in Education Standards for Educators
    • Founded on evidence-based strategies to determine the candidate’s abilities
    • Designed to include tools to help candidates improve where needed.

preservice teachers

After meeting with ISTE staff, education professors from several Texas universities, and Tim Miller, Director of Education Preparation Programs with TEA, the following tentative timeline for the implementation of this bill was determined:

  • TEA will create a rough draft of an implementation plan for the bill. TCEA will work with them to ensure that the original intent of the bill is maintained in the plan, as well as working with universities to make sure that their viewpoints are also represented.
  • The State Board of Education (SBOE) will meet in October to discuss the draft.·
  • At the December meeting of the SBOE, a formal presentation on the draft will be given.
  • After that, public comments will be accepted for 30 days.
  • Then the draft and its changes will go to the SBOE as an adoption item in March.
  • The SBOE will review the draft and vote on it at the April meeting.
  • The plan will then be implemented beginning with students entering by 9/1/2018 or later.

This endeavor has tremendous potential for helping to advance the use of technology in our classrooms for learning. TCEA will provide resources to help support this plan, including webinars for universities, webinars for preservice teachers, resources from ISTE to help understand the Standards, communication with key stakeholders, and a way to share curricula developed in response to this requirement. If you have any questions about this or would like to be involved in providing input on the implementation of the bill, please contact TCEA’s Executive Director Lori Gracey. With TCEA, you’ve got this!


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About the author

Lori Gracey

Lori Gracey has 28 years of experience in education, with 22 years as a curriculum and technology director. She currently serves as the executive director of the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) and is responsible for training technology directors, administrators, curriculum supervisors, and teachers across the country. During her nine years in this position, she has led TCEA in membership and revenue growth, helped to pay off their building and purchase a new, larger building, and implemented new conferences, partnerships with other associations, and professional development opportunities for members and non-members. She serves more than 17,000 members and oversees a staff of 21. Lori is also on the board of the Texas Society of Association Executives and SXSWedu and recently served as the Regional Program Chair for the ISTE 2017 Convention in San Antonio.

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