COVID-19 has forced educators to say goodbye to their classrooms and embrace adapting their pedagogy to online formats overnight. They have learned new technology, found creative ways to engage students remotely, and most importantly, kept education moving forward. The current public health crisis has placed a well-deserved spotlight on teachers. As parents struggle to balance work, supervise virtual classrooms, and co-educate their children, a new awareness and appreciation for the influence, power, and value of great teachers has emerged.
We have all read headlines about COVID-19’s drastic impact on the education system. We have seen firsthand the pandemic’s sweeping effect on our education institutions and students. And we have all been challenged to find remote learning opportunities that ensure teacher candidates are well-prepared to enter their own classrooms—whether in-person, hybrid, or virtual. While the hurdles we face are multidimensional, overcoming them is essential. To quote Linda Darling-Hammond, “If you don’t have a strong supply of well-prepared teachers, nothing else in education can work.”
According to the 2017 Workplace Learning Report, over 50% of learning professionals say that developing strong leaders is the number one objective for their organization. Coaching, communication, and collaboration top the list of skills for leaders, and large organizations report communication skills are more in demand than technical skills. This applies not only to companies’ employees but also for preparing teachers—who need to be adept at having high stakes conversations with their students, peers, administrators and students’ parents and guardians. Now add to that mix a public health crisis that has forced the issue of training while working from home (WFH).
In this white paper ,“Best in Class Leadership Development: How Virtual Reality and Avatars are Changing the Learning Landscape,” you will learn about modern, remote learning experiences that harness today’s technology to affect real behavior change. Backed by research, and no longer novel, simulations and use of avatars to assist learning is playing an increasingly major role in improving human interactions. Here is an outline of the white paper:
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As every educator in the country can attest, effectively leveraging technology in our classrooms, both in the virtual and brick and mortar environment, is paramount. To support our members, earlier this spring AACTE joined more than 70 education organizations in the COVID-19 Education Coalition formed by the International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE). The Coalition’s purpose is curate, create, and deliver high-quality tools and support for educators as they keep the learning going during extended school closures caused by the global pandemic. ISTE and coalition members have launched LearningKeepsGoing.org, a free, online portal with resources for educators and a help desk with experts from across the country to provide real-time support to educators. LearningKeepsGoing.org will also list weekly webinars, offering educators and administrators direct access to national experts.
As AACTE’s assistant vice president of programs and professional learning, I am co-leading the Higher Education subcommittee of the Coalition with David Sykhuis, assistant dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences, AACTE Innovation and Technology co-chair, and chair of the National Technology Leadership Summit. Members of the subcommittee include:
COVID-19 challenges all of us in teacher education to reimagine how to prepare our candidates for the complexity of teaching when they cannot be placed in authentic classroom contexts. Our responses to this challenge will likely require us to stretch the “approximations of practice” that Grossman et al. (2009) described. One strategy that might offer us a means for executing this stretch is video analysis. However, for video analysis to be a meaningful approximation of practice, teacher educators need both useful video case resources and the tools to support candidates’ exploration of these cases.
A group of science teacher educators from across the country has been using the ATLAS library as our main video case resource and the Framework for Analyzing Video in Science Teacher Education (FAVSTE) as our tool for maximizing the learning from these cases. ATLAS has videos (generally 15 -20 minutes in duration) submitted by teachers applying for National Board certification, along with the commentary (Instructional Context, Planning, Analysis, Reflection) associated with the videos. This allows teacher candidates to both see the action occurring in actual classrooms and then read about the thinking of the teacher before and after the lesson that produced that action.
This article originally appeared on the Kennesaw State University news site and is reprinted with permission.
The Bagwell College of Education’s mixed-reality avatar lab simulates a multitude of situations that teachers can experience, but Kennesaw State faculty probably didn’t envision that one of those scenarios would be providing field experience for teacher candidates during a real-life pandemic.
After universities and PK-12 school systems throughout Georgia transitioned from classroom courses to remote learning last month, the Bagwell College and the Department of Inclusive Education configured the avatar lab for remote access. Unable to be in their actual classrooms, student teachers and master’s candidates have been utilizing the avatar lab online to simulate teaching to a group of students.
“Our teacher candidates are able to take the lesson that they were supposed to teach in the real classroom and do it in our avatar lab, from the comfort of their home,” said Kate Zimmer, an associate professor of special education and the director of the avatar lab. “By no means are we saying that the lab should replace field experience, but, especially in times like these, it definitely makes a difference and helps prepare the best teacher candidates we can.”
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As part of its continued efforts to inform members about the latest developments regarding educator preparation programs (EPPs) in light of COVID-19, AACTE has updated its Policy Tracker Map to reflect recent changes in EPP-specific state guidance and recommendations. These changes include guidance analysis of 12 new states, specifically Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming. We have also updated data for New Jersey, which recently issued new guidance waiving edTPA.
In the coming weeks and months, as agency guidance is supplemented by the supporting instructions and recommendations of other state entities, such as the legislature and regulatory bodies, the information and features of this interactive map will grow to accommodate those developments.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
This past March, face-to-face instruction was canceled as universities began to implement emergency procedures for remote teaching due to COVID-19. In response, AACTE’s Committee on Innovation and Technology (ITC) presented a webinar with guidelines for emergency remote teaching. Constituents can view that webinar and access additional resources.
The purpose of this blog post is to revisit the webinar guidelines with suggestions that can be incorporated into planning for 2020-21 blended or online instructional implementation plans:
Survey faculty and students to identify digital inequities and access needs. Develop easy to use support system for devices, reliable Internet access, and technical support.
Use Your Current Tools
If face-to-face instruction is not an option, now is not the time to revamp the current learning systems. Universities should encourage faculty to use the same tools (e.g., your Learning Management System) prior to and during COVID-19. Encourage instructors not to overwhelm students with too many new tools. Select a few versatile tools (e.g., Google Suite) and encourage innovative integration throughout a course or program.
In recent interviews, I met with AACTE Board of Directors to collect their advice for colleges of education to effectively address challenges caused by COVID-19. These videos feature interview participants Jacob Easley II, Jennie Carr, and Jesse Perez Mendez.
Experts discuss emergency waivers and their potential impact
This article originally appeared on the Education Writers Association website and is reprinted with permission.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of new teachers are licensed in the United States. With the shuttering of schools and colleges due to the coronavirus pandemic, states are using emergency waivers to certify teacher candidates who are unable to complete preparation requirements such as coursework, student teaching, and certification exams.
Along with these swift changes come new questions about the teacher workforce and what will happen to the educator pipeline in the midst of a public health emergency and economic recession.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
This article original appeared on the University of Washington website and is reprinted with permission.
For future teachers, the beginning of their preparation program is marked by trepidation in the best of times. Even as teacher candidates learn the skills of effective teaching, how to attend to the overall wellbeing of students and much more, many are getting their first real experience leading a classroom.
When the COVID-19 pandemic precipitated the closing of all schools across Washington state in early March, that trepidation became even more acute for teacher candidates starting their studies in the University of Washington College of Education’s Secondary Teacher Education Program (STEP) later that month.
STEP Director Anne Beitlers said the first priority for the program was creating a sense of community.
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
As part of our Education Roundtable Series, Mursion will host three leaders for a conversation on the current state of upheaval that is bringing about a transformation in teacher preparation. Join hundreds of your colleagues tomorrow, Tuesday, May 19, 1:00 p.m. ET to engage in conversation with amazing, pioneering women in education. Plus see a simulation of a virtual classroom between a teacher and avatar students. Register to attend (or to receive the link to the recording of the event). Here’s the agenda for the hour:
Jacqueline Rodriguez, assistant vice president for programs and professional learning at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), will speak about the following:
AACTE Responds to COVID-19
This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE.
Speaker Pelosi Unveils Next COVID-19 Relief Bill with a $3 Trillion Price Tag
The House of Representatives is in town and scheduled to vote late today on the next COVID-19 relief bill—dubbed the HEROES Act. Considered by many to be a messaging bill and the wish list of Speaker Pelosi (D-CA), it is not expected to receive Republican support. Even so, a number of progressive Democrats believe it does not have enough relief and may vote no. Likewise, there may well be a few Republicans who cross over to support it.
The 1815 page bill includes almost $1 trillion to support state and local governments and another $100 billion for education. Key features include the following:
The COVID-19 pandemic has made home settings an essential and, in many cases, the only place of formal learning for students. This shift has pulled parents, caretakers, and other family members even closer to the education of young people as they assume the work of schooling that has been substantially reconfigured by both the pandemic and online platforms. However, in faculties of education, homeschooling is often marginalized with limited funded research (Howell, 2013). Additionally, as Kennedy and Archambault (2012) argue, teacher education programs should have been taking a more proactive role in terms of K-12 online learning with a focus not simply on the technology (Ko & Rossen, 2017), but on the unique aspects of the pedagogy associated with this mode of instruction. Teachers may be ill-prepared to deliver online content, and many families are overwhelmed by the shift in the learning environment. The long-term impacts of this shift are unknown. Yet this uncertainty reasserts opportunities to both (1) leverage home and community settings as reservoirs of knowledge deserving greater attention for teachers and teacher educators and (2) consider how educational technology can be used to support pedagogies that are more centered on students’ interests, assets, and needs (Means et al, 2013).
Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers proposed a bill that would task their state’s Department of Education and Department of Higher Education with devising strategies for recruiting more teachers of color. Almost half of Colorado students are students of color, while teachers of color comprise about 10 % of all teachers. This mismatch is even wider in Denver Public Schools, the largest district in the state, where 75 % of students are students of color but the share of teachers of color is a mere 27%.
Worse still, enrollment data from Colorado’s teacher preparation programs suggests these numbers are unlikely to inch up anytime soon: The state has not seen growth in the number of Black candidates enrolling in teacher programs in almost a decade, and its seen only a modest increase in the number of Latinx candidates. In the 2017–18 school year, only about 28 % of those enrolled in teacher preparation programs identified as people of color.
Research shows that teachers of color can boost the achievement of students of color—a needed skill in a state where these students face wide gaps in academic performance. However, it is increasingly clear that preparation programs will need to be more forward-thinking if they are going to usher more aspiring teachers of color into the profession.
AACTE Responds to Coronavirus (COVID-19)
AACTE is spotlighting interviews with its member leaders on effective ways for educator preparation programs to navigate through COVID-19. AACTE Board Chair Ann Larson took time to share important tips in this video on leading in difficult times. She also discusses the leadership role all educators have during the coronavirus crisis.