There’s a new education professional development mega-organization on the scene.
Members of the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, one of the oldest and largest K-12 professional development associations, officially approved a merger with the International Society for Technology in Education, a nonprofit that helps K-12 teachers make the most of digital tools.
The fusion of the two organizations is just the latest sign of just how central technology has become to teaching and learning. The merger was announced in late September, but required the approval of ASCD members to go forward. That vote was held Nov. 14, and 94 percent of the more than 200 members who participated in the process agreed to the merger.
Richard Culatta, currently the chief executive officer of ISTE, will lead the new, larger organization.
The next step: Reaching out to ISTE and ASCD members—as well as the broader K-12 community—to see how the broader organization can help schools best serve their students in a post-pandemic world.
That will mean considering things like: “How do we design schools differently? How do we design tech differently? How do we think about teacher training differently? How do we think about recruiting and retaining teachers differently? How do we think about education research differently?” Culatta said an interview. “Those are all the questions that we’re really interested in focusing on over the next months and years.”
The merger comes at a critical time for education technology professional development. Though more school districts than ever have embraced 1-to-1 computing initiatives that put a device in the hands of every student, teachers still consistently say technology training is insufficient.
For instance, in a July survey by the EdWeek Research Center, nearly half of educators—48 percent—said the training they or their teachers receive to use educational technology tools was mediocre or poor. And more than half said the ed-tech professional development experiences educators participate in are mostly one-time events with little or no follow-up coaching or training.
Through the merger process, ASCD and ISTE will retain their separate identities and brands, Cultatta added, even as they work on a new name for the broader organization.
That’s less about “what we slap on our products,” Culatta said, and more serving the needs of each organization’s community.
The groups’ memberships are “they’re unique and they have their different expectations and values and quirkiness,” Culatta said. “We’ll maintain to two separate member communities with lots of opportunity for engagement and synergy. If we were to just kind of slam everybody together in a room all at once, that’s probably not a good way to go about reaching our mission.”