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From the Dean

Posted by on Thursday, June 16, 2011 in From the Dean, Summer 2011.

Popular discussions about how technology is shaping our personal, social and professional lives tend not to reference education schools. Yet if you ask principals and superintendents what they look for in a prospective teacher, many will include facility with technology on their short list of desirable skills.

At a systems level, the growing incorporation of technology in education is one of the most powerful forces driving change in the field. More than ever, technology is being used for assessment, monitoring and decision making—as well as to promote learning.

Tennessee, for example, is among a cadre of states collecting and disseminating data to do such things as create early warning systems to identify students at risk of dropping out, evaluate teacher performance, predict student performance on high-stakes tests, and improve instruction. Of course, using data to inform decision making is nothing new for Peabody students both in education and non-education majors alike.

For its part, the Peabody faculty has used technology to develop such innovations as the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED) to measure principal effectiveness and the
Peabody Treatment Progress Battery to give feedback to mental health professionals. As for classroom instruction, those familiar with the college’s recent history may well recall that Peabody faculty members developed such learning technologies as Read 180 and The Adventures of Jasper Woodbury.

This issue of the Reflector explores efforts to understand, develop and apply educational technology by current and new members of the Peabody faculty, while looking at how our own IRIS Center uses technology successfully to disseminate materials on teaching students with special needs.

If all this talk about technology sounds a little off-putting, remember, we are still a college of education and human development—emphasis on the word human. With that in mind, we will introduce you to several HOD alumni giving back to their communities in very humane ways.

Camilla P. Benbow
Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development


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