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Currently, the Michigan Department of Education is offering 1 SBCEU for educators who take the 2011 Pre-Assessment at the site. As educators self-assess their own proficiency, this honest reflection on technology skills presents a realistic problem for most districts. However, not only does the 21things project provide a viable way to gather data on technology proficiency, it also presents a solution for providing cost effective technology training in a just-in-time fashion.

is that both courses satisfy the Personnel Skilled in Technology Assessment requirement for state reporting, providing meaningful data in relation to participant perceptions of their technology proficiency.

With 30 REMC Instructional Technology Specialists (RITS) on board, plans began for expanding again to address student technology proficiency. State reporting of 8th

The 21things project began as a discussion between four friends about shrinking professional development budgets, and an increasing need to improve technology proficiency. Instructional technology consultants, the late Frank Miracola and Dr. Jennifer Parker-Moore of Macomb ISD, Carolyn McCarthy at Shiawassee RESD/Clinton County RESA and Melissa White at Ingham ISD began brainstorming how technology and professional development was evolving. The challenge was to find a way to deliver professional development that maximized attendance, minimized cost, and improved the technology proficiency of participants.

The publication of the National Educational Technology Standards for teacher (NETS-T), administrators (NETS-A) and students (NETS-S) provides a road map of technology proficiency. With the expectation of technology integration in the classroom, the painful truth is that most teachers and administrators do not feel they are tech savvy or comfortable with the many tools at their fingertips. Although the NETS provide a picture of where we want to go, many educators are lost on their journey.

And so in 2008, four friends began working on the 21things4teachers, which launched in May of 2009. Using partial funding by a Regional Data Initiatives grant, the project partners began building a solution -- a web site that would meet the requirements for state reporting, provide just-in-time training based on FREE web tools, and meet the National Educational Technology Standards. Participants attend virtual classes using Adobe Connect, complete hands-on activities, view videos/tutorials, and create a digital portfolio/work log to learn the tools. Sessions are held and recorded for those that are not able to attend the live broadcast. Participants are able to gain professional development, SBCEUs, or graduate credit.

Boasting over 100,000 web hits, the 21things4teachers web site has provided just-in-time training to teachers around the world. Now expanded to include school administrators with the 21things4administrators, to date over 30 REMC agencies have signed on to deliver the 21things project. One of the benefits

based learning and includes 21 modules, teacher pages, and training materials for self-paced or guided instruction. Based on the Michigan Educational Technology Standards and the NETS-S, the site is partially funded by the state REMC Association.

With common standards, assessments, and training at our fingertips, we can now begin to bridge the digital divide. We can no longer wait to cross that bridge when we come to it. The bridge to our future is here – and it’s called the 21things.

To access these web resources, check out:

For further information about the 21things project, contact Carolyn McCarthy (, Dr. Jennifer Parker-Moore (jpmoore@, or Melissa White (

See the next page to find out what people are saying about the 21 things project.

MACULJOURNAL | Fall 2011 | 15 Grade Technology

Proficiency was also all over the map. Technology education is as varied as reporting, ranging from dedicated technology classes to integrating technology training into the curriculum. For State reporting, local methods of determining proficiency included enrollment in a technology class, network logins, final exams, or a myriad of other examples. In hopes of moving to a common assessment, the RITS group took its 50 question exam to a new level by creating the 21things4students. The site uses project-

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