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AACTE Co-Leads Higher Education Subcommittee of ISTE COVID-19 Coalition

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Education CoalitionAs 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:

Finding the Best Approximations of Practice in the Era of COVID-19: Video Analysis and FAVSTE

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.

New Reality for Teacher Training: KSU Lab Simulates Classroom Experiences Amidst School Shutdowns

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.”

Virtual Learning Application

Amidst School Closures, University of Washington Welcomes New Cohort of Aspiring Secondary Teachers

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 with Mental Health Resources During COVID-19

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Pandemic Fear PsychologyAs a society, we have grappled with separation, tragedy, and trauma during the last few months at an increased volume. We are managing our challenges in isolation, which has exacerbated them in tangible and emotionally exhausting ways. Within educator preparation programs, your candidates have transitioned their coursework, their living circumstances, their peer relationships and learning communities. In addition, many of your candidates have continued to support their local school community in an online format to address the needs of their PK-12 students. Candidates have been asked to make these transitions and many have continued to engage with their classroom students while adjusting their expectations for their own future.

AACTE recognizes the immense effort required to advocate and care for the emotional and mental health of oneself during our current circumstances. To that end, we have added a new Mental Health section on our COVID-19 Resource Hub. This section is focused on EPP students—our future educators across the country. We have included free resources and tools to support mindfulness, meditation, peer support, and self-care. We hope these resources provide a supportive start to giving yourself grace, consideration, and gratitude for your contribution to the field of education. 

Protecting the National Pipeline of Teachers

How Virtual Classrooms Can Help Train Preservice Candidates

Teachers using virtual teaching program

“Currently, under normal times, this would not count in Texas. This may change with pandemic issues,” chimed a participant at a recent Mursion Roundtable webinar. This was not an ordinary Zoom event though. It was a group of educators who gathered to test drive a classroom simulation for “Introducing Content for Middle School.” Messages in the chat were flying. In true teacher form, they were engaged, curious, forthright and funny. Several chat messages started with “I’m here to learn …”

What does it actually mean to train a teacher candidate in a simulated clas sroom? What does that look like? How does it feel? One brave volunteer blurted, “I’m terrified …and excited, but mostly terrified.” For those who have observed a first-time participant jump into a simulation, what follows is quite predictable. The learner starts out very tentative. Within minutes of the student avatars appearing on screen, they’re conversing and chuckling at the students’ responses. Then at their command “pause simulation,” they pop out of the scenario with a sigh and a wow. “That was very realistic,” is the usual description of this new experience.

Drs. Xu and Cormier Awarded COVID-19 Rapid Research Grants

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Yaoying Xu, Ph.D. & Dwayne Ray Cormier, Ph.D.

This article originally appeared on the Virginia Commonwealth School of Education website and is reprinted with permission.

Two VCU School of Education faculty members have been awarded COVID-19 rapid research grants by the university to help better understand this new pandemic and to combat it.

Dwayne Ray Cormier, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Foundations of Education and visiting iCubed scholar, and Yaoying Xu, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Counseling and Special Education, received news of their awards in April.

Cormier’s study will explore pandemic preparedness and response within PreK-12 public school systems located within the Greater Richmond area during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“The study is exploratory and will use sociological and cultural theoretical frameworks together with a concept mapping methodology to analyze data yielded from focus groups across the PreK-12 school systems,” said Cormier.

An Inside Look at How Educators Are Adapting to the Coronavirus Crisis

This article originally appeared on the Touro College Graduate School of Education News site and is reprinted with permission.

My experience during this pandemic has been surreal. As the director of early childhood education for District 31 at The Richmond Pre-K Center, part of NYC’s Department of Education, I never imagined I’d be leading and making vital decisions related to COVID-19. 

My staff and I had to immediately shift our way of thinking in order to perform our responsibilities in a new way. As educators, practicing social distancing during a pandemic while implementing digital learning with our 3-K and pre-K students is overwhelming. Grappling with this reality, we quickly implemented the word “flexibility” into our vocabulary and adapted to our new normal, accepting that things around us are changing by the minute. Being flexible gives us the opportunity to leverage the power of our emotional intelligence in order to stay grounded and focus our minds on building the future.

I applaud my district leaders and staff for leveraging their innovative skills to go above and beyond the call of duty and utilizing technology, including Microsoft Teams and Google Classrooms, to get our very important job done efficiently and effectively. We keep our students engaged by enabling them to interact directly with their teachers and fellow classmates via these virtual platforms in discussions on various topics. During our virtual meetings, our teachers create visual simulations of their classroom environment in order to deliver critical instruction, host live read aloud sessions, post videos of various activities, and lead singing and movement sessions for students to follow along with. Our teachers also model how to complete a variety of tasks related to science, literacy, writing, art, and math projects during these meetings.

Together as one, albeit separated by distance, we’re strategically maximizing the impact of education for our children during this unprecedented time.

New SOE Website Addresses K-12 Need for Remote Learning during COVID-19 Crisis

AACTE Responds to COVID-19

Person using tablet

The University at Albany School of Education, in order to support a greater need for remote learning in K-12 education, on Wednesday launched the website Remote Education Resource Center, or RemoteEd.

The site, which has immediate critical value in the current coronavirus crises, will not only help teachers incorporate remote learning tools into their classes, but also foster a community of practice in the Capital Region. RemoteEd had its unveiling on Wednesday during a webinar with area teachers.

“The School of Education at the University at Albany has a deep purpose and commitment to assist the special, urgent needs of teachers, leaders and schools to support student learning in this current dynamic time,” said Jason Lane, interim dean of the School. “Our faculty and graduate students have worked tirelessly to bring this resource to reality. We’re all in this together to support our children and students.”

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