The Center for Technology Education
Research and Innovation (TEIR)
Lawrence A. Tomei, EdD
Congratulations to Don Perrin, the staff of the editorial review board, and the contributing authors who have made the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning a success. In just a few months, we have taken the IJITDL from a dream to a reality while expanding upon a reputation that will make it the premier publication for distance education professionals.
First-time readers may wonder about the Center for Technology Education Research and Innovation and why it is sponsoring (i.e., publishing) the IJITDL. The TEIR Center was established in 2003 at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh PA to explore three pivotal and inexorably interrelated aspects of instructional technology. The Center quickly established a partnership with DonEl Learning Inc. and assumed overall publishing responsibilities for the IJITDL. Since then, it has initiated three strategic projects to build excellence in technology for teaching and learning.
Our highly effective SUCCESS program is the pivotal educational program. Working under sponsorship from the Ira V. Heinz Endowments, Duquesne University’s School of Education, and the Western Pennsylvania Catholic Schools Consortium, TEIR has implemented a three-year program for integrating technology into K-12 schools. Year One of SUCCESS focuses on teacher preparation, beginning with a five-day summer workshop that guides participating teachers through the creation of text, visual, and web-based instructional materials. Returning to their classrooms, teachers continue to receive hands-on tutorials from their own technology advisor (a graduate student from Duquesne’s Program in Instructional Technology). Their task is to complete the technology-based lesson begun in the summer workshop and deliver the lesson to students under the observation of their principal. Year Two of SUCCESS addresses the school’s curriculum in an effort to integrate technology standards, skills, and competencies. Year Three completes the journey by placing into service a mobile videoconferencing system along with membership in our Schools Distance Learning Network. For more information about the Model for Integrating Technology into K-12 Schools, visit our SUCCESS web site or contact Duquesne University’s Program in Instructional Technology at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The TEIR Center emerged from its Year Three work with SUCCESS to partner with the Challenger Learning Center (CLC) program at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling VA. “During CLC missions, students return to the moon, voyage to mars, or explore Earth from space. Students in Mission Control direct the critical activities of the students on board the space station-navigation, maintaining life support systems, communicating, or conducting research. The students experience the critical thinking, leadership, cooperation, and problem solving challenges necessary for mission success.” (http://www.wju.edu/clc/main.html). SUCCESS uses middle and secondary school E-missions to provide an initial online curriculum for its video-based distance program. Most teachers immediately recognize that an elementary-level focus is missing. In collaboration with the Challenger Learning Center, the TEIR Center was contracted to develop the Moon, Mars, and Beyond E-mission for grades 3-5. Innovative applications of technology are integral to the mission of the TEIR Center.
The third arm of TEIR involves the conduct of scholarly investigations to advance best practices in instructional technology. Certainly, the IJITDL is the digital manifestation of the Center’s commitment to research. It was established to facilitate collaboration and communication among researchers, innovators, practitioners, and administrators of education and training programs involving technology and distance learning. In addition, TEIR conducts numerous investigations into the practice of teaching and learning with technology. One particularly important cadre of contributors is Duquesne’s own Doctor of Education in Instructional Technologies (EdDIT) program. Its 30-plus participants conduct inquiries into the applications of technology and will share their findings with future IJITDL readers.
The TEIR Center partners with local technology partners including Three Rivers Connect (3RC), Inspiration Point, and various public school districts. The mission of 3RC is to “accelerate economic, social, and educational development through the innovative uses of information technology” (http://www.3rc.org/). Inspiration Point offers a wide range of conference services focusing on technology planning, cost reduction strategies, strategic planning and general training needs (http://www.inspiration-point.com). Several private and parochial schools have aligned themselves with Duquesne University via the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) federal grant. EETT increases student achievement through the effective integration of technology into curricula and instruction; the foresight of its authors ensures that a full 40 percent of allocated funds must be earmarked for teacher in-service training. A partnership between these schools and the SUCCESS program involves some 30 schools and over 680 teachers in the SUCCESS-ful integration of technology into the classroom.
From its inception, the scope of the TEIR Center has been international focusing on all levels and all forms of instructional technologies. The result of these and other endeavors will appear in subsequent issues of IJITDL.
Exciting times are in store for readers and contributors of IJITDL. You are encouraged to submit not only your own manuscripts for consideration, but to encourage others to do so as well. Only by making the International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning your technology journal will we collectively be able to advance instructional technology as a viable strategy for teaching and learning.