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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Integrating Technology into Teaching Standards for Health Education

Thoughts for tomorrow…and today

• The World Wide Web (WWW), which barely existed three years ago, is now doubling in size every 53 days (Thornburg, 1996).

• The number of new computers sold in 1995 exceeded the number of new televisions purchased (Thornburg, 1996).

• Previously distinct technological applications such as television and video, phone and fax, publishing, photography, and computers are merging into one digital communication medium (Jukes and McCain, 1998).

• Cable modems are capable of transmitting up to 2 trillion bps…the equivalent of 200 CD-ROM's…per second (Jukes and McCain, 1997).

• In 1996 one new technology was developed every 12 seconds: by 2000 it is expected fifteen new technology products will be developed every 1 second (Jukes and McCain, 1997).

• Distance and time are being replaced by digital dimensions.

Guidelines for effective use and analysis of technology are years behind technological advances; in part, because teachers are not required to be technologically literate. This is not unique to health education but a reflection of the status of education system as an entity. Take for example the following quote from "Contemporary Issues in Curriculum" by Ornstein and Behar-Horenstein;

"Few would argue that doctors and dentists of fifty years ago would be competent and capable enough to practice with the technology of today. Yet, a teacher from fifty years ago would probably feel right at home in most of today's classrooms…" (Hooper and Rieber, 1999).

According to the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the majority of teacher preparation programs do not adequately prepare teachers to use technology; "they treat technology as a special addition to the teacher education curriculum - requiring specially prepared faculty and specially equipped classrooms- but not a topic that needs to be incorporated across the entire teacher education program." (NCATE, 1997). The impact of technology on fields outside education is indisputable. Medicine, communications, manufacturing, and service industries have dramatically changed in response to the influence of technology but education has not kept pace. This may be due to lack a of technological training on the part of faculty, financial constraints, or poor understanding of changes occurring in P-12 classrooms (NCATE, 1997). As technological literacy becomes necessary to access information, leaders in education; federal, state, and local entities; parents; and business expect teachers to possess minimal skills (AACTE, 1996). At least 35 states have established "standards for technological fluency, with most currently working toward integrating them into the academic standards" (Milken Family Foundation, 1998). This article presents an overview of proposed educational technology competencies for educators and the status of health education organizations in relation to technology standards. Areas of interest for school health personnel include development of minimal technological competency requirements for teachers and guidelines for the use of educational technology to meet National Health Education Standards.

National Council For Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Recommendations

In 1995 the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) introduced technology expectations for schools of education. In 1997, the NCATE recommended an emphasis on technology as "central to the teacher preparation process" and in the year 2000, NCATE is expected to introduce accreditation standards which will "undoubtedly raise the bar for the use of technology in teaching and learning…" (NCATE, 1997). NCATE recommends stimulating effective use of technology in teacher education programs and the use of technology to improve the existing accreditation process while reconceptualizing accreditation for the 21st century (NCATE, 1997). NCATE accreditation standards include;

• Content Studies for Initial Teacher Preparation: Teaching candidates will "complete a sequence of courses and/or experiences to develop an understanding of the structure, skills, core concepts, ideas, values, facts, methods of inquiry, and uses of technology for the subjects they plan to teach."

• Professional and Pedagogical Studies: "Professional studies for all teacher candidates include knowledge and experiences with educational technology including the use of computer and related technologies in instruction, assessment and professional productivity."

• Professional Education Faculty Qualifications: Faculty must be "knowledgeable about current practice related to the use of computers and technology and integrate them in their teaching and scholarship."

The NCATE recognizes technology standards established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (ACET), and the International Technology Education Association/ Council on Technology Teacher Education (ITEA/CTTE).

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE)

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) proposed advanced and basic standards for educational computing and technology literacy. ISTE Basic Endorsement Standards include:

• Foundation Information: Basic computer skills including:

• Ability to access, generate, and manipulate data

• Ability to publish results

• Troubleshooting of basic hardware and software problems.

• Use of proper computer and technology terminology.

• Use of imaging devices including scanners, digital video/cameras, etcera.

• Operation of multimedia computer and software

• Personal and Professional Productivity: The application of productivity including:

• Word processing, database management, and spreadsheet applications

• Application of productivity tools to multimedia presentations

• Use of computer technology and telecommunications to access information

• Use of computers for problem solving, data collection and management, communication, and presentations

• Demonstrated awareness of adaptive and assistive devices

• Identification of technology resources for facilitating lifelong learning and emerging roles of learner and educator

• Application of technology to support instruction in subject area including:

• The ability to describe current instructional principles, research, and assessment practices related to technology in the curriculum

• The ability to design, delivery, and assess student learning activities that integrate technology for a diverse student grouping or population while fostering the equitable, ethical, and legal use of technology by students.

Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT)

The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) assisted the NCATE in developing technology standards for professional preparation programs since the publication of "Basic Guidelines for Media Technology in Teacher Education" in 1971. By the early 1990's, two AECT groups were formed: the Definitions and Terminology Committee, responsible for a newly evolving field: educational technology; and the NCATE Guidelines Task Force which developed guidelines for programs in educational communications and information technologies. The previous AECT publication "Basic Guidelines for Media Technology in Teacher Education was merged into NCATE standards for all teacher preparation programs (AECT, 1998).

International Technology Education Association (ITEA)

The International Technology Education Association, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), is developing "Standards for Technology Education" through the "Technology for All Americans" project with full support of NCATE, slated for final release in the year 2000 (ITEA, 1998).

"Standards for Technology Education" goes beyond a "checklist" of software and hardware proficiencies by providing "Technology Content Standards". Technology Content Standards encompass three universals and seven dimensions of technology. (ITEA, 1998). "Universals" consist of knowledge, processes, and contexts; "Dimensions" consist of technological concepts and principles, linkages, nature and history of technology, technological design, development and production of technological systems, utilization and management of technological systems, and assessment of impact and consequences.

Universals of technology are designed to be "incorporated throughout the curriculum and in technology courses" from "kindergarten through high school and beyond" (Dugger, 1997). Technology is to become a "required subject for every student at every grade level" requiring "curriculum development, teacher enhancement, and in some cases, restructuring building space"(Dugger, 1997). Technological literacy is considered essential with a "knowledge and process base for technology that is quantifiable and universal. The technological knowledge includes the nature and evolution of technology, contextual relationships or linkages with other subject areas, and technological concepts and principles" (Dugger, 1997). Teacher enhancement standards "present criteria for inservicing existing elementary and technology teachers…standards will be developed that will provide criteria to be used in making judgements about the quality of professional development opportunities (Dugger, 1997).

Closely related to Technology Content Standards, the Department of Labor developed SCANS skills: Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills. Representing the business community, this study provided impetus for the telecommunications act and other recent budgetary and political support for technology in education. SCANS identifies skills needed for the future workforce and provides a basis for several educational reform efforts (Milken, 1998). Critical skills include:

resource allocation, interpersonal skills, information skills, system skills, and technology skills. Three of these skills are directly related to the inclusion of educational technology in teaching and learning. Technology skills are obvious, but system and information skills are closely related to technology skills. Access to information is increasingly dependent on technology and system skills. Similar to "Technology Content Standards", the access, evaluation, dissemination, and application of information is integral to technology science. Business leaders refer to the "dynamics of knowledge" with good reason; information worldwide is currently doubling every 22 months while information "float" (time between discovery and application of information) is collapsing (Thornburg, 1997). Health information is a fluid knowledge base with new discoveries made daily. Given the rapid growth of information, students must be able to access and evaluate information. All information is not equal! Interpretation and evaluation of information is a critical technology skill contingent upon the system of knowledge used. Technological competency is composed of the ability to use hardware and software to support learning, demonstrate an understanding of technology systems and information pertinent to lesson content, and ability to link pedagogy to the implementation of technology.

Supporting Positions

According to the Milken Family Foundation, factors influencing the need for technological literacy "include demands driven by expanding information and communication resources, business influences, national leadership, and the curriculum standards movement" (Milken Family Foundation, 1998). The ability to access and evaluate information, make critical judgements about the value, reliability, and validity of information, and create and distribute information is considered essential (Milken Family Foundation, 1998). Technological literacy, content standards, outcome-based assessment, and changing demands of the workplace support the need for minimal technology competencies for educators.

The National School Board Association in conjunction with the Consortium for School Networking and MCI WorldCom (1998) advocate:

• Technology will be considered an integral part of every academic subject…

• Districts will hire new teachers who are computer literate

• Departments of teacher certification in each state should require more than one general course in educational technology as a prerequisite to even a temporary license

• Colleges of education should expand technology training for all pre-service teachers

The Interstate New Teacher Assessment and Support Consortium, a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers, recommends teachers know "how to use a variety of media communications tools, including audio-visual aids and computers, to enrich learning opportunities" and use "media communication techniques to foster active inquiry…" (INTASC, 1992).


Inclusion of technology competencies is expected to become a primary tool for all educators. Technological competency requirements continue to expand with technological advances and technology content standards provide a framework for science based curriculum.

Technological competency incorporates more than a checklist of hardware and software skills. Application of Technology Content Standards to health education goals designed to enhance critical thinking, communication, and evaluation skills is essential to technological competency. Fortunately, health education is proactive in establishing criteria consistent with these goals.

Status of health education

The National Health Standards Project identified health literacy as "the capacity of individuals to obtain, interpret, and understand basic health information and services and the competence to use such information and services in ways which enhance health" (ACS, 1998). Four characteristics are essential to health literacy; critical thinking and problem solving ability, responsible and productive citizenry, self directed learning, and effective communication skills. The National School Health Education Standards stipulate students will comprehend concepts related to health; access valid health information; analyze the influence of culture, media, and technology on health; and use goal setting and decision making skills (ACS, 1997).

The "Teacher Professional Preparation in Health Education" resolution fails to mention criteria for technology competencies in teacher preparation programs (AAHPERD, 1996), however, the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) is in the process of determining if entry-level health education is still up-to-date (HEPR, 1998).

The Coalition of National Health Education Organizations identified several technology related goals including: provision of continuing education for health education professional on emerging technology; adaptation of curriculum to evolution of world and field; technology education for professional development and continuing education; development and adaptation of technology for dissemination of health information and discovery; establishment of a nonprofit foundation for health education technology and marketing; and the establishment of a health education homepage on the Internet (HPER, 199?).

Despite identification of key technological concerns for the field, areas in need of direction include: adoption of minimal hardware and software skills, identification of required technological competencies, review of technological abilities and needs of existing instructors, establishment of pedagogical foundations for the use of educational/instructional technology in HSE, establishment of reliable and valid health information and evaluation instruments …especially for the Internet and educational software, and guidelines for authentic learning experiences and evaluation of outcome based objectives related to technology integration into HSE curriculum.

In conclusion

The National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) mandates all teaching candidates will complete courses or experiences related to the use of educational/instructional technology and pedagogy of teaching with technology, however, does not specify actual skills. Instead, the NCATE recognizes technology standards proposed by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Association for Educational Communications (AECT), and the International Technology Education Associaton (ITEA).

The ISTE Basic Endorsement Standards include hardware and software skills, application of technology for personal and professional productivity, and application of technology to support instruction in subject area.

The AECT is responsible for the newly created field of educational technology and the provision of "Basic Guidelines for Media Technology in Teacher Education" adopted by the NCATE as a requirement for all teacher preparation programs.

The ITEA is responsible for "Standards for Technology Education" which creates "Technology Content Standards" to be incorporated into all curriculum. Technology Content Standards consist of "Universals" of technology science: knowledge, processes, and contexts; and "Dimensions" of technology science: concepts, linkages, history, design, system development, and system management, and assessment. Not only will technology be infused into all other content areas, but technology will be a required subject for students from P-12.

Technological competencies must reflect more than a checklist approach to software and hardware skills. Instead, technological competency requires the ability to provide theoretical foundations for improving student learning through technology; the incorporation of knowledge, processes, and contexts of technology science as applied to the field of health education; and understanding of how technology concepts, history, design, and systems influence health education.

Currently, health literacy standards proposed by the National Health Standards Project, support…if not demand…inclusion of educational technology for success, however, the 1996 "Teacher Professional Preparation in Health Education" resolution fails to mention guidelines or criteria for technology competencies but the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing is evaluating entry-level health education requirements. The Coalition of National Health Education Organizations identified several technology related goals including; development and adaptation of technology for dissemination of health information and discovery, establishment of a health education homepage on the Internet, and provision for continuing education on emerging technology.

Future considerations include: identification or adoption of minimal hardware and software skills for professional preparation; a comprehensive review of technological abilities and needs of existing professionals; and guidelines and establishment of pedagogical foundations for the use of educational technology in health education.


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NCATE (1997). Technology and the New Professional Teacher: Preparing for the 21st Century Classroom. [On-line]. Available:

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Thornburg, David D. (1996). Redefining Teaching in a Disintermediated World. [On-line]. Available:

Thornburg, David D. (1997). The Future Isn't What is Used to Be. [On-line]. Available: the rest

Jukes, Ian; and McCain, Ted (?). The Future is Now: Welcome to the Communication Age. [On-line]. Available: http://www. Find the rest

Jukes, Ian; and McCain, Ted (?). Living on the Future Edge. [On-line]. Available: http://www.find the rest

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National School Board Association (1998). Leaders Guide to Education Technology. [On-line]. Available: http://www.find

Dugger, William E. (1997). The Next Step: Developing Standards for Technology Education. The Technology Teacher. Technology for All Americans Newsletter. The International Technology Education Association. March 1997
Technology for all Americans Project Staff (1998). Building Consensus for Technology Education Standards. Technology for All Americans Newsletter. The International Technology Education Association. December/January 1998

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. Professional Development Guidelines Draft. [On-line]. Available:

American Cancer Society. Health For Success. National Health Education Standards. [On-line]. Available:


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