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IT in Oregon's Preservice Teacher Education

IT in Oregon's Continuing Professional Development

Pre-Education Programs


It is well understood that students enter preservice teacher education programs with widely varying backgrounds in IT. Some barely know how to turn on a computer, while others have been making a living working in the IT field. This is a nationwide problem, and teacher education programs vary in how they have addressed the issue.

One possible approach is to do some sort of IT assessment of students applying for admission to a teacher education program or ofthe admitted students just before they begin their coursework in such a program. Here is a list of three general ideas that could be used to do the assessment. (This list does not speak to the issue of what to do with the assessment data.)

  1. Submitted materials (Electronic Portfolio). A program could establish requirements that such materials be submitted as part of package of materials in the application for admission. For example, one can tell a great deal about a student's knowledge of word processing by looking at an electronic copy of a student's work.
  2. Self-assessment. Applicant is given a fairly detailed rubric for IT self-assessment over a standard set of IT knowledge and skill areas. This is submitted as part of the application packet. (The sample self-assessment included as one of the documents in this report requires that the self-assessment be done on a word processor if the applicant has the knowledge and skills to do so. A disk copy is to be submitted along with hard copy.
  3. A "proctored" hands-on test. This could be administered at or near the time an applicant is being interviewed as part of the admission process. Applicant is given choice of using a PC or a Macintosh. Applicant is given a choice of using various pieces of software provided by the teacher education program, or software provided by the Applicant. Applicants requiring special I/O facilities (such as voice input) will provide their own facilities or make arrangements with the teacher education program well in advance of the hands on test.

Some people have suggested that somewhat uniform IT admission standards be developed for use throughout the state's teacher education programs. Students not meeting the IT admission standards could be admitted on a conditional basis, with the requirement that they remediate their deficiencies. One possible approach would be to make use of the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for K-12 students developed by the International Society for Technology in Education. For example, one might set the standards for full admission as being the ISTE NETS for students completing Grade 5, or for students completing Grade 8, or perhaps for students completing Grade 12. One might set different admission standards for students going into different teacher education programs. Perhaps students entering a secondary school preservice teacher education program would need to meet higher IT requirements than students entering an elementary school program. (Notethat the ISTE NETS for teachers specifies that teachers are to meet the 12th grade ISTE NETS for students.)

Here is a draft version of a self assessment instrument developed by the PTTT Capacity Building grant at the University of Oregon during 1999-2000. It has been revised a little since then.

=========== Self-Assessment Instrument ===========

For each of the six areas listed below, please do a self-assessment by circling the scale number that best represents your current level of expertise in the area and then responding to the question given below the scale.

We prefer that you respond using a word processor. However, if you do not know how to use a word processor, please complete the form given below by hand, and include it with your application for admission to the program.

If you are responding using a word processor, please create the response form in your word processor document and submit both hard copy and electronic forms of your response. At the beginning of your response, indicate what word processor and computer platform you are using.

Self Assessment of Information Technology Knowledge and Skills

The meaning of the scale points for each question is as follows:

  1. I have very little knowledge and skills in this area.
  2. I have a modest level of functionality in this area, but often require help on the more advanced details.
  3. I have a high level of functionality in this area.
  4. I am comfortable in helping others solve problems they encounter in this area. I can help them to gain a high level of expertise.


  1. Word processing 1..........2..........3..........4

    A modern word processor contains hundreds of aids to writing and editing. For example, it may contain aids to help create headers, footers, page numbering, tables, styles, index, and table of contents. It may contain an outliner, provisions for arranging a list in alphabetical or numerical order, provisions for inclusion of graphics, and provisions for establishing Web links. It contains provisions for setting a first line indent and a hanging indent. And, of course, it contains a spelling checker and may contain a grammar checker. Briefly discuss your knowledge, skills, and experiences in this area.

  2. Desktop publishing 1..........2..........3..........4

    Desktop publishing is the design and layout of a hardcopy document for effective communication. Increasing expertise is shown by knowing and following the rules about effective use of white space, layout, Z scan, typefaces, graphics, and color to improve communication. Briefly discuss your knowledge, skills, and experiences in this area

  3. Email 1..........2..........3..........4

    Email includes sending and receiving messages (including saving and deleting messages), sending and receiving attachments, building and maintaining an address book, building and maintaining a distribution list, and participation in chat groups. It includes the knowledge of avoiding responding to all of the people in a distribution list when you really only want to respond to one specific person in the list. Briefly discuss your knowledge, skills, and experiences in this area.

  4. Web 1..........2..........3..........4

    The World Wide Web can be used to find information, to carry out business transactions, and as an aid to distance learning. Increasing expertise is evidenced by the ability to efficiently locate, evaluate, use, and learn from multiple, high quality sources of information on a topic. (These are some of the skills of a research librarian.) Briefly discuss your knowledge, skills, and experiences in this area.

  5. A Suite of General-Purpose Tools 1..........2..........3..........4

    In addition to word processing, email, and Web, a Suite of General-Purpose tools may include spreadsheet, database, paint graphics, draw graphics, and slide show. And, of course, the Suite makes it easy to apply all of its tools to a problem, readily moving from one tool to another as one works on a document. Discuss your knowledge and skill in using a Suite of General-Purpose tools, with special emphasis on spreadsheet, database, paint graphics, draw graphics and slide show.

  6. Multimedia (hypermedia) 1..........2..........3..........4

    A multimedia (hypermedia) document can be nonlinea and interactive. It can include text, sound, graphics, animation, video, and color. Increasing expertise is evidenced by the ability to design and implement more complex and more effective multimedia documents, both in a Web and a non-Web environment. Briefly discuss your knowledge, skills, and experiences in this area. Include electronic copies of samples of your work and links to any wWebsites that you have created.

  7. Operating systems 1..........2..........3..........4

    The Windows and Macintosh operating systems are complex pieces of software that are widely used in K-12 education. Activities include being able to install or upgrade systems software, design and arrange your desktop for efficient use, and navigate comfortable through the wide range of features provided by the operating system. Increasing expertise includes being able to carry out such activities quickly and comfortably on computer systems that have been installed by other people, to load updates to an operating system, and to work with both Windows and Macintosh platforms. It also includes knowing how to make use of a variety of computer utilities for detecting and correcting errors on a disk, locating and restoring lost files, and carryiout other tasks to restore a disk to a healthy state. Briefly discuss your knowledge, skills, and experiences in this area.

  8. Other (please specify) 1..........2..........3..........4

    Use this section to name and discuss other areas of IT in which you have a significant level of expertise. For example, you may have substantial knowledge of particular pieces of software, or you may be skilled in dealing with hardware and software problems. You may have experience in computer programming. You may be experienced in setting up and maintaining a computer network or a computer lab. Include electronic portfolio materials and pointers to Websites as appropriate.

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