Profile: Joyce Pittman, Education
Story by: Dawn Fuller
Using Technology With a Caring Touch
Photos by: Lisa Ventre
Technology is connecting us to learning communities around the world and opening up
possibilities that we never imagined before. However, this new frontier is always changing
as we discover faster, cheaper and more creative ways to use technology.
As we consider how our children will compete in this brave, new world, our
challenges involve far more than getting computers into every classroom. Will every child
in the classroom be able to catch on, or are some getting left behind? What about
proper training for teachers? Are the folks who still remember the vinyl album, the
eight-track player, and filmstrips thoroughly understanding and using computers, CD-ROMS and video to benefit learning?
Joyce Pittman, UC assistant professor of instructional technology, is helping to
answer those questions for local, state and national educators. Pittman says she is
devoted to keeping children out in front on the information superhighway. "I really
care about teaching. I believe technology can make a difference and improve the quality
Pittman pioneered a method of researching and evaluating technology education
which is now used nationwide. The model measures the effectiveness of teacher training
partnerships involving universities and schools. The Cincinnati Initiative for Teacher
Education (CITE) is a nationally acclaimed teacher training partnership that includes
UC, Cincinnati Public Schools and the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers. Pittman is
raising the program to a higher level of excellence with the addition of the
Comprehensive Educational Restructuring and Technology Infusion Initiative (CERTI).
Pittman is the principal investigator of a $2.7 million, three-year initiative and is CERTI
project director. CERTI will provide UC students, professors, and teachers with the
expertise to use technology in teaching and learning.
"CITE is already at the forefront of teacher education I've worked with models
across the country. Ohio is far ahead of many states in terms of technology. The only
problem has been implementation. With CERTI, students will now have access to
teachers who are being prepared to help children improve their learning opportunities.
They'll be teaching to the many different learning styles students have, and we'll be
expanding opportunities for parent, school and community connections."
"On the national level, there are great expectations for this new initiative, in part
because of my position of being a national pioneer and leader in this field," Pittman
continues. "I've been working in this field for the past 28 years, promoting and
advocating high standards for teachers. I'm putting myself in the trenches and I want to
make this happen."
Pittman was on top of national developments in educational technology as CERTI
was created. She was a leading member of a writing team that developed national
technology standards to guide teacher education programs across the country. Pittman
was nominated for the team by fellow members of the International Society for
Technology in Education, a nonprofit professional organization to promote and support
teaching and learning through information technology. The standards, created with
funding from the U.S. Department of Education, are expected to be adopted by all 50
states by 2002.
On the international level, Pittman was a prominent speaker at an educational
conference last July in Bangkok, Thailand. The conference explored the global impact on
education in response to changing social, political and economical situations as well as
evolutions in technology.
Pittman has strived for equality in urban schools, which in terms of technology are
behind nationally, due to lack of equipment, fewer or nonexistent Internet hookups, and
outdated computers. Her advocacy for technology goes beyond the educational
institution, and with the Cincinnati Youth Collaborative, she was a key researcher of a
study exploring the Cincinnati community's access to technology.
Furthermore, Pittman shares parental concerns about cybersafety, and is promoting
awareness and responsibility for teachers and parents. In an article co-authored by
Pittman and published in the Educational Leadership Journal, Pittman examined
educational sites geared toward children. She found that far too many of them invited
children to register personal information. Furthermore, her research revealed that
features used to shut children out of unsuitable web sites were either too restrictive,
closing them off from useful information, or they weren't restrictive enough. The report
included recommendations on shaping future safety education programs and suggestions
for parents and teachers to share responsibility in educating children about cybersafety.