Technology Plan for U.N.C. Ed. Schools Approved

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To bring new teachers up to speed on the latest computers and technology, make sure those who teach teachers can use them, too.

That notion shaped a recent decision by the University of North Carolina system to require all teacher education faculty members to incorporate computers and technologies into their instruction.

By the spring of 1996, the system also will require prospective teachers and administrators to know their way around a computer keyboard. Education students will have to show proficiency in using software such as word processing and spreadsheets.

The university's board of governors last month approved the plan by C.D. Spangler, Jr., the university's president, for making both education professors and would-be teachers familiar with electronic media.

Observers say it is one of the most direct and wide-reaching efforts in the country to rectify what many argue is a glaring weakness in teacher training. Most teachers, experts say, teach as they were taught, and only a handful of education schools have effectively incorporated technology into their curricula.

Because of that, many students understand how and why to use computers far better than their teachers, Jay Robinson, the chairman of the North Carolina board of education, told local reporters.

Conquering the Basics

Earlier this month, Mr. Spangler laid out his timetable for bringing the faculty at the state's 15 education schools into the information age.

By the fall of 1996, he said, when the class of 2000 is enrolled, education professors will have had to master "the computer basics."

By the fall of 1997, professors shall "understand and incorporate into their teaching more advanced technological tools."

Mr. Spangler said few of the state's 66,000 classroom teachers, 8,000 support personnel, or 5,000 administrators are computer literate. "There is an army that needs training," he told the board.

To address that problem, a joint venture of the university, the state's community-college system, and the state school board will draft a plan by summer for upgrading the skills of the public school workforce.

Vol. 14, Issue 28

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