Virginia Leads Way in Requiring Technology Proficiency for Teachers

Last year, Virginia’s Board of Education passed one of the few teacher licensing requirements in the nation that requires teachers to be proficient in technology. Although the rule does not take effect until 2003, it already is starting to show results, as more than 400 teachers took part in technology training sessions this June.

In a three-day workshop, teachers were introduced to basic matters such as using the CD-ROM drive or getting on the web. They also were given a peek at more advanced items, such as a web camera that can enable students to interview people from around the world—experts in a particular field, or students in other countries. A geography teacher interviewed for the article said she saw immediate benefits of using a web camera in her classroom.

Virginia’s computer literacy requirement is far-ranging. It requires a demonstration of skills such as creating a web page, as well as an understanding of internet copyright law. The state allows each school district to decide how to test this knowledge; many districts will require teachers to develop technology portfolios of their classroom work.

In the next few years, other states are likely to adopt their own versions of technology proficiency requirements, an Education Department official predicted.

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