The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) this week named the University of Central Arkansas College of Education as the recipient of the 2019 AACTE Best Practice Award for Innovative Use of Technology for its iPad Mobile Initiative program. Donna Wake, associate dean of UCA’s College of Education, will be presented with the award at the AACTE 71st Annual Meeting, February 22-24, in Louisville, Ky.

The UCA College of Education is in its third year of implementing the intensive 1:1 mobile technology initiative for all undergraduates in its initial preparation programs. Beginning in fall 2016, students who were enrolled in the university’s undergraduate elementary, special education, middle level, and all secondary education programs were immersed in the mobile technology initiative. The iPads were formally listed as a College of Education curriculum requirement, and students were able to purchase the devices at the education rate.

From the outset of the initiative, each faculty was paired with a coach to support their continued technology integration practices. In addition to the 1:1 coaching structure, a full menu of professional development options was provided to faculty and students. To date, the initiative includes 39 mobile learning courses and has grown to reach 346 students across the first two years of implementation. As a result, the UCA College of Education has increased its use of key apps supporting student engagement; become leaders in the state in using video reflection and annotation in supporting teacher candidates’ pedagogical growth; and raised awareness of accessibility and Universal Design for Learning to provide all students with access to learning opportunities.

“The College of Education is honored to be recognized for technology use and innovation by the AACTE,” said Dr. Victoria Groves-Scott, dean of the College of Education. “From our newly redesigned learning commons, high-quality online courses and program, to the undergraduate mobile initiative, the College of Education faculty embrace the power of technology to transform education. Technology has forever changed the world we live in and we are dedicated to ensuring that change is positive.”

This award is given annually by AACTE to recognize the successful infusion of technology in a school, college or department of education. Along with a description of their program’s context, objectives and duration, applicants must address the program’s outcomes and sustainability. The AACTE Committee on Innovation and Technology reviews these applications and selects the winning entry.

“As the leading voice in educator preparation, AACTE represents teacher educators who sustain and advance our profession through innovation, high standards, and leadership. For 23 years, AACTE has honored the exceptional contributions of member institutions and individuals to our field,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “The 2019 AACTE Awards recipients exemplify excellence in educator preparation, and I look forward to honoring this member institution at the 71st Annual Meeting later this month.”

Based in Washington, D.C., AACTE is a national alliance of 800 colleges and universities with educator preparation programs dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The AACTE awards program has been recognizing excellence since 1996 in both member institutions and individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of educator preparation. By honoring notable programs and practices, professional accomplishments and scholarship, these awards encourage AACTE members to strengthen the profession through innovation, leadership and inquiry.

The UCA College of Education is dedicated to providing exemplary programs for the preparation of professional educators, including teacher preparation, educational leadership, school counseling, library media, instructional technologies, higher education student personnel administration, and other related professional fields. Learn more at uca.edu/education.