Teacher Candidates in Online Programs Are Well Positioned To Teach Virtually During COVID-19

When the COVID-19 pandemic began, many teachers, students, and parents rushed to navigate online learning. Some schools may reopen with social distancing guidelines in place, while others may incorporate a virtual component. To limit COVID-19 exposure while maintaining the quality of education for students, educators will need to embrace online instruction.

Navigating new technology can be a big hurdle for veteran teachers. As many school districts are announcing plans to incorporate virtual learning for the upcoming school year, there will be little time for teachers to prepare. Seasoned educators will need a lot of training to master remote instruction and help their students succeed.

Teacher candidates enrolled in online programs can help bridge the gap. These candidates have developed technology skills and experienced asynchronous learning, which puts them in a great position to pivot to remote teaching. With 50 years of experience in distance education and online learning, Walden University faculty are prepared to provide teacher candidates with the knowledge and experience needed for online instruction in PreK-12 schools. Walden even helps teacher candidates develop and practice their skills for the classroom through virtual reality training simulations.

While various online learning tools were available prior to COVID-19, such as Zoom and Google Classroom, they were underutilized due to lack of demand. Now that face-to-face instruction will be limited moving forward, teacher candidates that have experienced field-tested classroom simulations can confidently instruct their future students, in person and online.

For an even bigger advantage in online instruction, aspiring educators can also consider degree programs that specialize in education technology. Walden University offers a Graduate Certificate in Integrating Technology in the Classroom (Grades K-12), where primary and secondary teachers learn how to integrate the latest technology in the classroom – an essential skill set needed to adapt to COVID-19’s long term impacts on education. Walden has also provided online teaching resources through its Education for GoodTM Resources for Now initiative.

The key to online instruction is flexibility and a willingness to adapt. Veteran educators should be flexible, seek advice from their newly minted colleagues, and learn from failures while figuring out the best pathways to help students succeed. As COVID-19 continues to cause shifts to virtual learning, teacher candidates in online programs will have the knowledge and experience needed to lead online classrooms and collaborate with veteran teachers to adapt to the trends of instruction.

Steve Canipe, is associate dean of Walden University College of Education and Leadership.

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