Technology as a Pre-requisite Skill?

We recently hired a new secretary. We required the all applicants to take the advanced assessment for Microsoft Office Excel, Word and Outlook. We do this because from experience we have learned that our office is too busy for people to learn on the job. They need to enter the job with a high degree of competency. We offer a personal interview only to the candidates that demonstrate they are tech savvy.

This led me to pondering whether or not the same is true for new teachers. Is the classroom just too busy of a place to learn on the job? Should teachers enter the classroom with a high degree of technology competency. Should we assess technology skills in a systematic way in the same vein we look at pedagogy and communication skills?

If the answer is no, how much further into the 21st century before we might consider technology assessment as a necessity?

If the answer is yes, what technology skills would we assess and how would we assess them?


lsmith said…
What a great question! My first thought was that yes, they should absolutely have technology skills because after all that is the future. However, after some consideration, I changed my tune slightly - should we really rule out individuals who are very qualified and engaging teachers just because they do not have a wiki or are not the best with a promethean board? I certainly think that some skills are necessary, but at the same time technology will continue to evolve constantly and what one may know coming out of college may totally change 20 years from now. As long as students are learning and learning well is it really important for all teachers to be totally tech saavy? I'm curious to see what others think! I cannot decide one way or another!
Lori said…
Interesting question Kelly! I agree with lsmith that we cannot overlook the importance of engaging teachers who help students learn. That said, technology is not the wave of the future--it is here now and we must embrace it! As educators we are responsible to graduate well-rounded students and in today's world that includes helping students be responsible users of technology. I am thinking that our schools are dropping the ball with reference to educating today's students in technology. Perhaps it begins with educating our teachers--especially those like me who are digital immigrants!
Kurt Paccio said…
Should we assess? Yep. I think so, but I'm biased as I work in education technology.
What school's belief statements do not include the phrase "life-long learning" or something similar? Can one truly be a life-long learner in the information age without strong tech skills?

What should we assess? How about the National Education Technology Standards for Teachers - ISTE's NETS-T.
Download NETS-T

As good teachers we should certainly know how to assess standards.

While I agree that a lack of technology proficiency would not necessarily eliminate an otherwise strong candidate, it is another yardstick to be used in finding the best candidate.

Good thought provoking questions!
Michael Pauling said…
My answer is a emphatic NO, but being a technology coach...hiring teachers without technology skills gives me job security.

Seriously, I work the most frequently with teachers that already have a high level of technology skills.

I also feel that many of our colleges are doing an inadequacy job of training teachers in technology. I have run into College Professors training their students to be prepared for 1994(or much earlier) not 2009 and beyond.

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