AACTE Partners with National Science Foundation to Advance Science Educator Preparation

AACTE | NSF logo

The American Association of Colleges Teacher Education (AACTE) has launched a new initiative to advance the use of simulation in science educator preparation. AACTE recently received the National Science Foundation (NSF) Discovery Research PreK-12 convening grant to address the critical need for well-qualified science educators who can teach effectively in a variety of face-to-face and virtual school settings and meet the needs of diverse learners.

Through well-designed simulations, the preparation of science educators provides

  • teacher candidate’s exposure to student populations that are more diverse in learning needs and socio-cultural backgrounds than they may encounter in clinical experiences
  • opportunities to practice pedagogical approaches that candidates may not have in clinical experiences and to receive immediate feedback from mentors and peers
  • the ability to diversify the course content in the teaching practicum

“AACTE is eager to partner with NSF to increase the pipeline of highly qualified science educators entering the nation’s secondary classrooms. Through this grant, AACTE and its members will help reduce the national shortage of teachers in this specialty,” said Jacqueline Rodriguez, AACTE vice president, research, policy and advocacy. “Simulation technology offers educator preparation programs advanced tools for honing the knowledge and skills of future teachers in both virtual settings and in-person clinical experiences.”

AACTE will convene member institutions and strategic partners for a virtual conference this summer to mobilize effective practices in science educator preparation across the country. The event will feature experts in science education, simulation in educator preparation, and the Next Generation Science Standards, as well as high school science teachers who have been recognized for excellence in teaching and mentoring teacher candidates. Participants will engage in design thinking exercises to develop simulation scenarios that afford science educator candidates additional opportunities to improve their practice. Learn more at aacte.org/vrclassrooms.


AACTE: The Leading Voice on Educator Preparation 

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. Nearly 700 members 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.