Ten Michigan colleges have formed a consortium to award certificates to graduating teachers who have demonstrated an advanced ability to use computer technology in their classroom instruction.

The Consortium for Outstanding Achievement in Teaching with Technology “will establish the highest standards in the nation for training new teachers to use technology in the classroom,” said U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

A 1997 survey indicated that more than a third of Michigan teachers have no computer skills or are just beginners, while only 15 percent have advanced skills.

“It’s going to help (student teachers) who can attain the certificates to get good jobs,” said Barry Fishman, an assistant professor of educational technology at the University of Michigan, one of the participating schools. “Principals are searching for people who know how to use technology.”

The consortium also will spur its colleges to provide more opportunities for tomorrow’s teachers to learn how to integrate computer expertise and classroom teaching, Fishman said.

Colleges and universities in the consortium include the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and Dearborn, Michigan State University in East Lansing, Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, and Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo.