2021 News

USF College of Education receives Best Practice for Innovative Use of Technology Award from AACTE

Preschool students and a teacher using a Promethean tablet in a classroom

Photo taken prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 25, 2021) — The University of South Florida’s (USF) College of Education was selected as the 2021 recipient of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE)’s Best Practice Award for Innovative Use of Technology.

The award, selected by AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology, recognizes the innovative use of educational technologies in schools, colleges or departments of education. The AACTE Awards Program includes a rigorous selection process carried out by the AACTE Standing Committees, which review all the entries before selecting the winners honored at the AACTE Annual Meeting. The College of Education was presented with the award during a virtual awards forum at the AACTE’s 73rd Annual Meeting.

The recognition focuses on the College of Education’s cybersecurity education initiatives that provide teachers and aspiring educators with knowledge and skills in cybersecurity awareness and training, preparing them for roles in various educational settings.

The College of Education offers multiple courses and programs in cybersecurity education, including “Cybersecurity for the Everyday Citizen,” “Cybersecurity in the Schools,” a graduate certificate program in Cybersecurity Awareness and Education and a master’s degree in learning design and technology—a fully  online program that includes a specialized track in cybersecurity education.

“At a time when the skills and pedagogy of classroom teachers and school administrators are more important than ever, USF’s cybersecurity education initiatives offer innovative preparation of preservice and inservice teachers for roles as leaders and educators throughout PreK-12 schools and higher education,” said Michael J. Berson, PhD, professor and co-chair of the College of Education’s Digital Ecosystem Committee. “These efforts have engaged the community in critical conversations about security issues that affect our educational institutions while exploring solutions that are safe and empower technology use.”

The College of Education also engages in cybersecurity education community outreach through USF CyberCamp, a week-long summer camp that provides hands-on cybersecurity exercises for youth with curriculum designed by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology. The camp brings together a diverse group of students from minoritized and underserved groups as well as USF cybersecurity students, industry leaders and experienced educators. 

“AACTE is the leading voice in educator preparation, representing nearly 700 postsecondary institutions. This award is an important recognition of the efforts and commitment of our faculty to the preparation of educators who are knowledgeable and skilled in the creative and safe use of instructional technology to enhance learning,” said Judith Ponticell, PhD, professor and interim dean of the USF College of Education. “The award is also a ­­recognition of the leadership of the College’s Digital Ecosystem Committee and Florida Center for Instructional Technology, which have been instrumental in expanding cybersecurity awareness in our schools and community.”


About the USF College of Education:
As the home for more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members across three campuses, the University of South Florida College of Education offers state-of-the-art teacher training and collegial graduate studies designed to empower educational leaders. The USF College of Education is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) and its educator preparation programs are fully approved by the Florida Department of Education.

About the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE):
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education is a national alliance of educator preparation programs and partners dedicated to high-quality, evidence-based preparation that assures educators are profession-ready as they enter the classroom. The 700 institutions include public and private colleges and universities in every state, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam. Through advocacy and capacity building, AACTE promotes innovation and effective practices that strengthen educator preparation. Learn more at www.aacte.org.