PREPARING CAREER CHANGERS TO TEACH AND INTEGRATE TECHNOLOGY
Bowie State University (UNITED STATES)
Bowie State University (BSU) is the oldest historically black university in Maryland. At BSU in the College of Education (COE) in the Center for Learning and Technology, the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program prepares Career Changers to teach. Through the challenging experiences of the MAT Coordinator, this article’s intent is not to declare a unique alternative route to teaching, but it is the intent to share how Career Changers transition to teaching with technology in classrooms. The MAT program was initiated in 1997 at the University. Thus, as the newly appointed Coordinator in the fall of 2006, the preparation of “highly effective teachers” changed with a curriculum (pedagogy/methodology) overhaul that required technology integration to support instructional delivery for students learning in the digital age. The overhaul was needed after almost ten years and was intensive and is ongoing. The major focus of this article is first to share the challenges of not only equipping Career Changers in teaching methodology, but also preparing them simultaneously to apply the methodologies using state-of-the-art-technology. It also, addresses how we prepare candidates who are at different stages of their technology awareness, use and planning for applying best practices. Further, it provides guidelines and directions for candidates to locate and acquire resources (material, human) for accessing equipment beyond that affordable by schools. Finally, this paper shares the coordinator’s experience with weaving the technology into the core courses in alignment with national and local standards; practicum experience, research and professional courses. Along with the latter, a big challenge was not only designing a course that equipped candidate’s with skills to apply the tools, teach the pedagogical methodology, but also craft related classroom evaluations and assessments. All that was done to date to change the MAT Program was effective in the fall of 2008 as we envisioned the 2010 a recommendation of The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) to bring curricula in line with the 21st –century instruction that meets the needs of digital learners. Because we are visionaries who knew what needed to be done to prepare our candidates three years ago, we realize that what we did then and today will be in need of updates tomorrow.