New Partnership Offers Virtual Reality Classrooms to Advance Learning for Future Teachers
The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE), the leading voice on educator preparation, and Mursion, the global leader in virtual reality (VR) training, are partnering to offer educators and students world-class experiential learning through simulations. The collaboration provides teacher candidates an opportunity to complete clinical field experiences remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The special offering is available to educator preparation programs (EPPs) across the nation.
During the coronavirus outbreak, EPPs can launch the VR classrooms in just a few days. Through virtual simulations, candidates can practice instructional techniques and access a platform of over 100 videos of classroom instruction. AACTE and Mursion will offer the VR classroom with simulated students at a special discount to support teacher candidates in these unprecedented times.
Here is your opportunity to engage with AACTE! The Association is currently accepting 2021 Annual Meeting session proposals and reviewer applications, nominations to serve on AACTE Committees, 2021 award nominations, and voting on revisions to the Association’s bylaws and articles of incorporation. With so many opportunities available, will you answer the call to serve the profession?
Each call to action has its own deadline, so be sure to mark your calendar and click on the links below for more information:
AACTE DEI Video: Promoting Equal Access to Quality Teachers
Ed Prep Matters features the “Revolutionizing Education” column to spotlight the many ways AACTE, member institutions, and partners are pioneering leading-edge research, models, strategies and programs that focus on the three core values outlined in the current AACTE strategic plan: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Quality and Impact; and Inquiry and Innovation.
In celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, AACTE spotlights “Promoting Equal Access to Quality Teachers,” as the next segment in its Diversity, Equity and Inclusion video series, In this video, AACTE leaders discuss the important role effective teachers have in student learning and achievement, and advocate for poor communities to be given equal access to high quality educators. With the recent disruption in education caused by the coronavirus, several inequities regarding equal access to quality instruction has come to light as well as the important role teachers have in student learning. AACTE members are committed to producing high quality educators for the 21st century learner and strongly believe all students should have access to excellent teachers.
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.
Senate to Reconvene May 4 as House Stays Home—Mostly
Congress has been on recess for a month leaving a scant few Members in town to hold down the fort. This week both the House and Senate announced they would return full force on May 4, but only a day later, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) retracted the announcement for the House saying the Capitol physician advised against it. Members are still regrouping from the whiplash announcement and retraction—assessing the political fallout—but relieved about the health risks had they returned.
Sen. McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader, has not backed down despite push back from several Senators, and the full Senate is scheduled to be in town May 4. They will likely be in town until May 22, recessing for Memorial Day. Many unanswered questions remain. Will staff be required to report to work? Will social distancing be enforced? What are the cleaning procedures for office spaces and the Capitol? Will masks and gloves be worn? We shall see.
A horizontal image of an empty primary school classroom. The setting is typically British.
In the last few weeks U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has put forward three initiatives intended to privatize the provision of public education. Given her long known and widely declared conviction that vouchers and related schemes to deliver public dollars into private hands are the panacea for all that ails education, this is not surprising. Watching her leap into the breach caused by the COVID-19 emergency is troubling, though not unexpected.
In her book, Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (2007), Naomi Kline describes the phenomenon of a crisis precipitating the redistribution of public dollars into the waiting hands of private players who offer a seemingly undeniable remedy. Years earlier, economist Milton Friedman popularized the notion that only a crisis produces real change, enabling reforms that were not previously thought possible. “When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes the politically inevitable,” wrote Friedman in Capitalism and Freedom (1962, ix). Kline’s research led her to coin the term “disaster capitalism,” which she describes as “orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities.” (6)
Don’t let the current crisis distract you from connecting with colleagues and advancing your professional interests through service on an AACTE committee. Nominations are open through May 29 for positions on the following AACTE committees:
- Global Diversity
- Government Relations and Advocacy
- Innovation and Technology
- Meetings and Professional Development
- Membership Development and Capacity Building
- Professional Preparation and Accountability
- Research and Dissemination
AACTE joins the National Education Association (NEA) and the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) in celebrating excellent teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 4-8, and National Teacher Day, May 5.
The NEA and National PTA invite you to get involved by thanking a teacher in the following ways:
Thank A Teacher on Social Media
- Simply make a video or take a photo of yourself thanking a teacher who has made a difference in you or your child’s life, or just thank all teachers or supporting our nation’s students each and every day. (You can download this ThankATeacher template to use in your photo.)
- Share your message of appreciation on your favorite social media platform using the hashtag #ThankATeacher
Wear #REDforED on Wednesday, May 6
AACTE takes the health and safety of our attendees and participants at our events seriously, so we have postponed our regularly scheduled summer events to later in the year. Washington Week will now take place September 8-11 and Leadership Academy is now scheduled for October 3-7. We will take every precaution to create a safe environment while onsite. As this is an evolving situation, we will continue to monitor new developments concerning COVID-19 and will update the meeting status as needed.
Please note that due to the ongoing uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, AACTE will not charge a cancellation fee if you decide to not attend an in-person event based on concerns around your health or travel. Please continue to visit aacte.org for the latest information.
WASHINGTON WEEK: September 8-11
This article originally appeared on EdSource and is reprinted with permission.
The coronavirus pandemic won’t prevent most teacher candidates from moving into California classrooms next school year, even if they have yet to complete all the normally required student teaching hours or certification tests.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing voted Thursday to give university teacher preparation programs wide latitude to decide when teacher candidates are prepared to move onto the classroom. The commission made its decision during a virtual meeting attended by more than 550 viewers. It affects students who are on track to complete their coursework between March 19 and Sept. 1.
California expects 26,000 teachers, principals and other administrators, speech-language pathologists and school psychologists, counselors, social workers, nurses and librarians to graduate this school year, according to the commission. The majority are studying to get their teaching credential.
The AACTE 72nd Annual Meeting culminated with a Closing Session keynote address by 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson, a Richmond, Virginia, 18-year veteran educator who has developed programs to prevent students from entering the school-to-prison pipeline. Robinson shared how he uses culturally responsive curriculum and the whole child approach to learning in educating vulnerable students.
In talking about inequity, Robinson spoke about two different types: resource inequity and cultural inequity. During a tour of schools in Southwest Virginia, he noted the differences in resources. “It’s mind boggling. We went to some schools with 21st century buildings, state-of-the-art high-speed internet. Kids were using STEM boxes to plant agriculture, kids were using drones to to study space. And then we would go 30 miles down the road and buildings don’t even have AC, no high-speed internet; one school district didn’t even have text books.” He was challenged to advocate for these types of inequities between rural and urban schools.