CONTACT: SCOTT HAUSER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
UI education students going 'World Wide' in their job searches
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Future teachers from the University of Iowa College of
Education are showcasing their high-tech skills to potential employers in
a novel way, thanks to a new effort this fall to prepare teachers for the
"The Electronic Portfolio Project" is a new initiative to provide
students in the teacher education program in the College of Education with
training, skills and resources to make their academic and professional abilities
available to employers on the World Wide Web.
The project is directed by Rebecca Anthony, teacher placement coordinator
for the Educational Placement Office, and John Achrazoglou, coordinator of
the College's Computer Resources Laboratory.
The new effort is believed to be the first organized attempt to train education
students in the technical skills they will need to lead classes full of computer-savvy
youngsters while also helping future teachers expand their job prospects.
"Schools expect our teachers to be able to walk into the classroom and
use the new technology," Anthony says. "We want to make sure our
teacher-candidates have all the skills they need to be excellent teachers."
"The beauty of this is you can demonstrate your professional and academic
skills while also showcasing your technical skills," she says.
The new program is the latest in the college's 10-year history of providing
education students, who want to earn certification to teach, with technology
training. In 1986, the college began requiring students to take a technology
course, called "Introduction to Microcomputing for Teachers," one
of the first teacher training programs in the country to require such work.
Achrazoglou has been expanding the technical scope of that class over the
past decade as computer technology has evolved. Elements of the Electronic
Portfolio Project were offered on a limited basis in spring and summer semesters
All students in the microcomputing class will learn the skills for using
the World Wide Web this fall.
Students will learn elements of multi-media software and technology, software
for preparing pages on the World Wide Web, as well as how to use scanners,
editors, cameras and other equipment to be on the cutting edge of the Internet.
Anthony says a portfolio is the perfect practical experience for future teachers
to learn the technical skills they will need in their classrooms.
For education students and teachers, a portfolio is a record that documents
the academic and employment history of teacher candidates as well as showcases
teaching philosophy, abilities, activities, and examples of past work completed
by students supervised by the candidate.
By putting it on the Web, employers can get an idea of candidates' potential
with the stroke of a few keys. But they also get an idea of how well candidates
can use the latest technology, a continually important factor for teachers.
"Web portfolios are a great indicator of skills," Achrazoglou says.
"This is not something you do and put away for a couple of years. It
requires constant updating and employers will be able to see who has those
skills and who doesn't."
Anthony emphasizes that the portfolio pages will be kept professional and
won't be personal sites for students to post irrelevant material. Such personal
pages, if done badly, are greeted with scorn from many Internet users.
Students receive guidelines to keep them from posting material that is irrelevant
to a job search or that doesn't present a professional attitude toward teaching.
Anthony says students who stray outside the guidelines will only be hurting
"This is going to be used to showcase the professional skills of students,"
she says. "If employers see that the students have unrelated or personal
information on their electronic sites, they're going to look unprofessional
and it will diminish their chances of making a good impression."
Achrazoglou says keeping up with the latest technology is a high priority
with students, who have asked for updates in the microcomputing course.
"They know how important it is when they get out into the schools to
be able to navigate the Internet and be on top of technology," he says.
"We don't want students to be victims of technology, but masters of technology."