Members of the Ontario Technological Education Association (OTEA), Design and
Technology Teachers of Ontario (DTTO), Ontario Technology Education Co-ordinators Council
(OTECC), the Technological Education Curriculum Consortium of Ontario (TECCO) and the
Ontario Technological Directors Association (OTDA) have been working for four years
to set up the framework for one association.
The Association franco-ontarienne en Úducation technologique (AFOET) has also
participated in the discussions, but as it is funded differently, it will continue as it
has, representing technological educators in the French-language system. The organizations
will continue their close association.
The partners working to create this new organization hope it will provide a strong,
unified voice to advocate on behalf of technological education.
TEAO will take the lead in working with other stakeholders on issues in technological
education, primarily through the Technological Education Liaison Group (TELG). TELG
includes representatives from subject associations, faculties of education, teachers
federations, the Ministry of Education and Training, and the Ontario College of Teachers.
Currently, TELG is tackling issues in qualifications for technology teachers to iron
out inequities between those in the public and separate systems and bring certification up
to date with changes in Ontarios education system.
Conference 99 is the kind of professional development opportunity the new
association hopes to provide. TEAO will also encourage and facilitate the development and
sharing of curriculum resources among educators and help them keep pace with technological
innovation and its impact on school programs. A significant part of TEAOs work may
be to develop and provide updating and Additional Qualification training.
All technological educators across Ontario will be able to be members in the new TEAO.
As an innovation, TEAO is proposing to offer school memberships, so that all the
technology teachers in one school have access to TEAO benefits. Teachers would no longer
have to sign up as individual members.
John Fredette and Gord Bergsma will offer a communications technology workshop at
Conference 99 to showcase the province-wide Internet communications system for the
new organization. Discussions are also under way with a publisher about the possibility of
a provincial magazine for tech educators. Its hoped this will open the door for a
new approach to a unique pilot project in integrated technology that will provide an
opportunity for students to integrate Internet skills and technology as part of the new
organizations editorial department. Advertising would be offered to all vendors that
supply Ontarios technological facilities.
TECH TEACHERS NEEDED
Crystal Adams, a student in Paris, Ontario, wrote recently in a letter to the Hamilton Spectator,
"The technological educators found in Ontarios schools have earned their
degrees through an apprenticeship process and have spent many years in their selected
field before choosing a career in education. They are mechanics, chefs, bakers,
cosmetologists, carpenters, computer technicians, etc.
"They will be the first to tell you that teaching is like no other career. It
brings challenges and rewards that are unique to the profession. Why did they leave their
professions? Because they wanted to make a difference, create an interest and enthusiasm
in perhaps their trade or at least by expanding a students horizons by providing the
opportunity to explore options they hadnt thought of. This is important because our
country is experiencing a shortage of skilled tradespeople. Without the next generation
showing an interest or aptitude in technology we will quickly fall behind on the global
As this student points out, Canada needs skilled trades-people. That means we must have
an education system that has enough qualified technological educators and the resources
they need to teach. But, all the changes arising from amalgamating school boards and from
cutbacks create a threat to technological education.
Those involved in technological education must lobby with one unified voice if they
want to influence decisions that affect technological education.
The new Technological Educators Association of Ontario intends to be that voice.
For information on Conference 99 or membership in TEAO please e-mail email@example.com.
John Fredette is president of the Ontario Technological Education Association and
co-chair of Conference 99. He teaches at Parkview Secondary School in Hamilton and
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.