The TExES Technology Applications EC – 12 Exam is a certification examination that is designed to determine if an individual has the skills and knowledge necessary to teach a variety of courses related to designing and maintaining web and graphical media for students at any grade level in the Texas public school system. This exam specifically examines the individual’s ability to work with a wide range of different technological applications and his or her ability to effectively teach students how to carry out tasks related to these applications. This exam assesses an individual’s knowledge of topics related to graphic design, desktop publishing, multimedia applications, networking, website design, and other similar topics. The Technology Applications EC – 12 Exam may be required in order to teach technology-related courses in the state of Texas depending on the specific teaching position the individual is pursuing. The exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions that are related to the following areas:
- Technology Applications Core (15%)
- Digital Art and Animation (30%)
- Digital Communication and Multimedia (25%)
- Web Design (30%)
The exam-taker will have five hours to complete the exam and the exam will be scored on a scale of 100 – 300 with 240 set as the minimum score considered as passing for the exam. The registration fee for the Technology Applications EC – 12 Exam is $131 and the exam is offered in a computer-based format. However, there may be other exams and fees in addition to this exam that are required in order to become certified as a technology teacher for any grade level within the Texas public school system.
Sample Study Notes
1. Define basic information technology concepts and essential applications.
There are six basic concepts important to understanding information technology (IT). These concepts should be introduced to students beginning in the first grade and continuing through the high school years.
- BINARY: brief representations of long strings of numbers used in computations
- ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange): letters and punctuation signs combined with strings of binary numbers
- HIERARCHY: the order to understanding and using information technology; this concept is sometimes referred to as “nesting quality”
- WORLD WIDE WEB: the www is a communication tool that links information via bursts of binary data
- STORED PROGRAM: a CPU (central processing unit) stores multiple sets of instructions and determines the next step in a process.
- ROUTING: sequences of binary numbers move through a connected network The three essential applicable benefits of the basic concepts are:
- WORD AND NUMBER PROCESSING: formatting of documents and spreadsheets
- SEARCHING THE INTERNET: using the ASCII encoding system to find information
- GREATER EFFICIENCY: increased speed in finding, comparing, and transmitting data
2. Discuss how the evolution of information technology affects educators.
Information technology changes rapidly; it may be only a few months before the next generation is introduced. Because of this, it can be a challenge to keep current hardware accessible and be knowledgeable about the newest versions of popular software. Educators face especially difficult obstacles because of budget restraints and the time needed to research, prepare requests, and obtain approval for new software and hardware, which in all probability means most school districts are several generations behind. How can a teacher cope with this real-world situation? The best way is to stay current with advances in information technology through reading and research. Develop lesson plans that show students how to approach new and unfamiliar software and hardware. Most software applications do not change dramatically from one version to the next; many improvements are slight and based on user requests. There are only so many ways to set up a spreadsheet or create a document. New hardware usually just adds more memory and faster response time along with a few “bells and whistles.” The basics do not change.
3. Define and discuss graphic design.
Graphic design is both the process of visual communication and the product created. Using typography (the features of an object), the visual arts (paintings, sculptures, drawings, etc.) and page layout (fonts, margins, object placement, etc.), designers create an image that tells a story. The primary tools for the graphic designer are a creative, imaginative mind and a keen eye for detail and balance. They must also understand the message to be conveyed and the audience for which the message is meant. In the beginning, the artist developed the idea or studied a copywriter’s text, drew a sketch of the message and laid the page out using moveable renderings. Designing by hand is limited only by the artist’s imagination and skill. In the computer age, it is both easier and more difficult to practice graphic design. It is easier because of the availability of multiple fonts, the ability to maneuver objects and the capability of quickly duplicating the finished image. It is more difficult because the computer is limited to the fonts, clip art and photos stored in memory.
4. List some industries that use graphic designs.
- TECHNICAL WRITERS use graphics to illustrate schematics, explain complicated diagrams and enhance complex text. Sometimes pictures are needed when words are not able to convey the message accurately or adequately.
- MARKETERS use graphics to sell a product, introduce a concept, or enhance a company’s identity. When color and copy are combined with a logo to create a corporate identity, it is known as branding.
- EDUCATORS rely on graphics to illustrate and explain. Creatively formatting information using pictures, graphs and white space makes books easier to read and understand.
- The ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY tells stories. Whether it’s a film, theatrical production or comic book, graphic designs are used to set the scene and create a mood.
- JOURNALISM reports facts, analyzes events and offers opinions on diverse topics in print and on television. Graphics are used to illustrate, inform and entertain.
- WEB DESIGNERS are critical players in developing the look and feel of a web site. They work with marketers, developers and software engineers to combine visual and interactive communication tools that appeal to the target audience.
5. Describe digital animation.
Animation is the process of making drawings and inanimate objects appear to move. It began in the mid-1850s with the use of the zoetrope to simulate movement, graduated to stop-action photography as seen in the early cartoons of Walt Disney in the 1930s, and has progressed to the computer-generated films currently being produced. (The first totally computer-generated film was Toy Story in 1995.) Digital animation creates moving images using a computer. It is the same process used to produce movement on television and in films (originally known as motion pictures). A simple explanation for the process: an image is displayed on the screen; it is quickly replaced with another image that is similar to the first but has shifted ever so slightly. This process is repeated as many times as necessary to complete the desired action. The images are then layered onto a virtual skeleton. Details are added (eyes, mouth, ears, hair, etc.) and all the related images are shown sequentially, creating the illusion of movement. Computer animation has come a long way since the days of the zoetrope.
6. Discuss desktop publishing.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines desktop publishing as the “design and production of publications, such as newsletters, using microcomputers with graphics capability.” That is a succinct definition but stops short of addressing the many uses of desktop publishing. The art of desktop publishing (DTP) incorporates graphics and word processing software to create more than just newsletters and illustrations in documents. It is used to produce goods for a multitude of purposes. Point-of-sale displays in retail outlets, promotional items with logos that reinforce company branding efforts, the backdrops for trade show exhibits, and package designs for products are just a few examples of ways to use desktop publishing skills. Paul Brainerd, the founder of Aldus Corporation, created the term in 1985 as a marketing slogan to differentiate his smaller, easier-to-use, and more affordable products from the commercial photo-typesetting equipment in use at the time. Since its introduction, desktop publishing has grown from adding clip art to documents to a respected course of study offered by many colleges and universities.
7. Explain the term multimedia.
The American Heritage College Dictionary defines multimedia as “the combined use of several media especially for the purpose of education or entertainment.” Media includes text (words), audio (sounds), animation (moving images), still images (pictures, drawings, illustrations) and video (pre-recorded visual images). Linear multimedia moves without any control by the viewer, e.g. filmstrips, movies and PowerPoint presentations. Non-linear multimedia has an interactive component that requires manipulation by the user, e.g. computer games, computer-based training. Multimedia presentations may be prerecorded or live action. They may be seen in person (stage production, movie theater, rock concert) or watched on a media player (television, DVD, online). The presentation may be staged in a theater with actors, projected on a screen, or transmitted via an electromagnetic signal. Broadcasts and recordings can be analog (data represented by physical entities) or digital (an electronic logic circuit represented by the binary number system). Multimedia is versatile, engaging and entertaining. It is only limited by users’ lack of knowledge, imagination, or access to appropriate hardware and software.
8. Describe some uses for multimedia.
- COMPANIES AND CORPORATIONS: multimedia presentations are used to introduce new products to customers, enliven internal and external training seminars, inform employees of changes in company policies and procedures, and communicate with shareholders.
- COMMERCIAL: many creative professionals in journalism, advertising and marketing use multimedia to enhance their products and presentations. Government agencies and non-profit organizations employ multimedia in business-to-business communications and to explain their mission to the community.
- ENTERTAINMENT AND FINE ARTS: movies and television use animation and special effects in many of their productions. Video games have a huge following of devoted users. Artists create works that encourage and invite interaction.
- EDUCATION: computer-based training (CBT) is a popular method of teaching in corporate settings. Online dictionaries, encyclopedias and other reference books often use animation and detailed illustrations to explain complex topics.
- ENGINEERING, MEDICINE, SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH: computer simulations help engineers manipulate data to create potential scenarios; medical personnel can practice surgical techniques and study the effects of diseases in virtual reality situations; researchers use multimedia in modeling and simulations.
9. Discuss the benefits of the Internet.
The Internet has had a profound effect on society. Communication is almost instantaneous (email); information is abundant, readily available and easily accessible on the World Wide Web (www). More and more people are turning to the Internet for the news of the day, analyses of current events, sports scores, health information, financial transactions, and security (home, day care, nanny cams, etc.). The growth of the Internet has allowed companies to expand their business reach beyond traditional borders and reduce expenses, thereby increasing the bottom line. Companies are more willing to let employees work from home, which lowers gasoline consumption, reduces pollution and makes for happier, more productive workers with a better work/life balance. Individuals are able to start home-based businesses, which allows for more time with families. Students have easy, convenient access to a myriad of resources and reference material, which adds to background knowledge and enhances learning. Teachers can utilize computer-based training programs to acquire new skills and enrich their instructional arsenal of teaching tools.
10. Discuss some detrimental effects of the Internet.
While there are many positives about the growth of the Internet, there are also some consequences that are not so welcome. In spite of the decreasing cost of computer equipment, many people still cannot afford to purchase and maintain it. This is especially true in developing countries, as well as many of our own inner cities. How will this inequity affect the labor pool in the future? Will the world economy eventually have to pay a steep price for a computer-illiterate work force? There is no doubt that computers and the Internet have been a boon to industry. It has enabled businesses to attract new customers while cutting advertising and production costs. It has also meant eliminating many unskilled jobs; computers can do many tasks cheaper and quicker than humans. What will become of those whose jobs were eliminated? Will the tax burden be increased because of the need to provide for folks who don’t have the necessary skills to find work?