Down to Business...

Okay, so you haven't heard from me for awhile because I''ve been a bit pre-occupied with the harsh realities of public education.  Specifically, the reality that the policy makers involved often have such little knowledge of the realm they're overseeing.

Economics or Steel?

I teach students a variety of technology related concepts and applications with in my seventh and eighth grade course called "Technology".  The course centers on the following skills:

Learning and Innovation:

  • Creativity and Innovation

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Communication and Collaboration

Information, Media and Technology:

  • Information Literacy

  • Media Literacy

  • ICT Literacy

Look familiar?  It should.  The primary focus is the Framework for 21st Century Learning.  The context within which I do this includes:

  • MS Office

    • Word

    • PowerPoint

    • Excel

    • Visio

  • Blogging

  • Wikis

  • Adobe Creative Suite

    • (Design Premium)

  • Moodle

  • WizIQ

  • Novell Teaming

  • Google Docs

Apparently, although most of these technologies have to do with communication, collaboration, and creativity, I, as a former Communication Arts teacher am not qualified to teach this class in the fair state of Pennsylvania.  In fact, in order to continue teaching this class I need to get a new certification.  Fair enough.  I am a Web Designer.  I have a Master's degree in Online Learning.  I maintain my own web server in my home office.  I could easily certify to teach computers in PA, if there was a computer certification in PA.  There isn't.  To teach a computer class in PA, you must certify in Technology (what we called shop class in my day) or Business.

Since I have little hope of explaining the why and how of particular aspects of steel manufacturing, I've decided to pursue the business certificate.  It's my hope that I can actually pass a 125 question Multiple choice test on business vocabulary.  Of course, there is the snag that I know almost nothing about Business!  I'm a computer teacher.  If you bothered to check out the link above, you realize that I have the knowledge to answer approximately 17% of the questions on this test.  This is why I'm using my Discovery Streaming membership to watch such exciting videos in my spare time as "Business Basics: Supply & Demand", which pursues the role of supply and demand in economics through real-life examples of how the laws of supply and demand work in the American economy; reading business textbooks; and listening to Marketplace.  Okay, to be honest, I enjoy Marketplace, and it probably won't actually help with the test.

Really: NCLB, Highly Qualified teachers, and Finance

Apparently, while the spirit of the law is to help children by ensuring they're never learning Calculus from someone with an Elementary Ed. Certification.  The letter of the law becomes quite ridiculous, particularly when you say the all things computer-related are the unique unapproachable realm of Business and Shop teachers... Really?

Apparently knowledge of carpentry, finance, energy production, and macroeconomics makes one uniquely suited to teach computer applications like Wordpress and Adobe Illustrator... Really?

Obviously, I realize that there are connections between both disciplines and computer technology.  I'm not arguing that point at all.  I can even see that for those teaching such subjects, the idea of trying to get an additional computer technology certification would be ridiculous.  My question is, how is it any less ridiculous for a Communication Arts, Science, or Math Teacher?  All of these disciplines connect as well.  What about blogs, wikis, web pages, and threaded forums makes them not a part of Communication Arts or "English"?  Incidentally, if you want to get really picky, the PA Standards for Technology fall under Science.

Resources and Sharing

Okay, so I'm going to do everything I can to collect resources and prepare for this test.  I also hope to share what I find here.  If anyone else has found anything useful, please share it.  Finally, if you're teaching computers on the secondary level in PA, act now!  Register for a test and get it done before the policy changes.  Currently, there is talk of adjusting the law so one must take the schooling in order to add the certification.  If you don't want your MBA or training on Bandsaws, I suggest you get moving.

Anyway, here's some stuff that was shared with me or that I found.


  1. [...] and professionalism are just as if not more important than products. I’m certified in BCIT and my course falls under the Business umbrella.  If my students can’t “play [...]


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