Educational Technology Specialists

To: Deans and Directors of New York State Teacher Education Programs
District Superintendents
BOCES Superintendents

From: Joseph P. Frey, Assistant Commissioner
Office of Quality Assurance
Robert G. Bentley, Executive Director
Professional Licensing and Teacher Certification

Subject: Educational Technology Specialists

Feedback from the field indicates that the role of individuals certified as Educational Technology Specialists may be unclear. We write to clarify the status of these certified teachers.

The content core of a registered Education Technology Specialist program “prepares candidates with the knowledge, understanding, and skills for using various types of technology for teaching to the State learning standards for students … and for instructing other school staff and students in using technology for teaching and learning." (Section 52.21(b)(3)(xv)(a) of the Commissioner’s Regulations)

In addition, these programs contain the same general pedagogical core requirements as other classroom teacher programs, although candidates complete a practica, rather than student teaching. Pedagogy content also addresses skills in collaborating with other professional staff to support instruction through education technology that enhances the following:

  • the learning and independence of students with disabilities and special needs;
  • the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of all students; and
  • student learning in content areas and in the use of instructional and assistive technology to acquire information and communicate.

Most active Education Technology Specialist programs report that they prepare teachers to use technology in their classrooms or to seek employment as a resource person within a school district. While there is a perception that these teachers are limited to ancillary services rather than classroom teaching, qualified individuals certified as Education Technology Specialists may teach computer literacy courses.

This is consistent with longstanding policy. The teaching of computer literacy -as opposed to such career and technical subjects as computer technology or computer repair or installation - has never had a specific State certificate. Instead, Department policy has been that any person holding a valid certificate to teach at the desired developmental level, and having coursework and expertise in the area, may be appointed by the Superintendent to teach computer literacy in the public schools. This policy holds for individuals certified as Educational Technology Specialists.

Please note, however, that this authority does not extend to technology-related subjects reserved to certified Career and Technical, Technology Education, or Industrial Arts teachers. Likewise, the teaching of computer applications in business courses should be taught by certified Business Education, Business Education and Distributive Education, or Business and Marketing teachers.

We hope this information helps to clarify the role of certified Educational Technology Specialists. If you have any questions about this certificate title, please contact the Office of Teaching Initiatives certification office at (518) 474-4661. Questions concerning registered programs that prepare candidates for this title may be directed to the Office of College and University Evaluation at (518) 474-2593.


cc: Johanna Duncan-Poitier
Jean Stevens

Last Updated: October 22, 2009