This is Part 2 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they’ve moved from pivoting to disrupting the status quo as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being forced to think creatively about how to support student teachers and beginning teachers at Appalachian State University has resulted in changes that we are now continuing into this semester and beyond. Using virtual platforms such as Zoom, we have been able to establish connections that have reached more people without the logistical barriers that are typically present. Taking away barriers such as travel, parking, and time constraints that previously seemed inevitable and unavoidable, have challenged us to consider if they are indeed necessary. What we have realized is that what started out as Plan B is now becoming Plan A. Providing seamless support for students and teachers that disrupts the status quo has many advantages.
Overcoming barriers and offering meaningful learning opportunities for pre-service and in-service teachers has led us to think differently about how we support our students and teachers. During the summer of 2020, both of our offices teamed up with the Reich College of Education’s Math & Science Education Center to host a virtual education conference called IDEA-CON. The conference offered a variety of sessions for educators of all levels, from beginning teachers to teacher educators. From brief resource sharing sessions to 30-minute idea discussions to panels to plenary speakers, IDEA-CON had something for everyone. And best of all, we were able to offer this conference for FREE.