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Developing Technology Excellence in Teachers Requires Lots of Practice

This article originally appeared on the ISTE blog and is reprinted with permission.

Two women working on computer

If teacher candidates are to learn how to integrate technology, teacher educators and PK-12 mentor teachers must value, promote and demand that technology be an essential element to good teaching. Furthermore, teacher candidates and novice teachers must have ample opportunities to practice teaching with technology during their field experiences and student teaching.

A new paradigm for practice

In his book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell writes about the connection between practice and success. Experts, he writes, do not “float effortlessly to the top while practicing a fraction of the time their peers did.” Gladwell believes dedicating an enormous amount of time to practice is one of the most important factors in developing excellence. As such, “Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.”

Educators concerned with developing expertise remind us that not all practice is created equal. In a recent blog post, James Clear, author of Atomic Habits (2018), writes, “…at any level of skill, (if you) practice in the same way you always have you’ll get the same results you always have.” Applying a more purposeful and powerful conception of practice to educational technology calls for teacher educators and PK–12 mentor teachers to distinguish between time spent in repetitive activities to integrate research-based teaching from how time practicing is actually spent as a way to improve teaching with technology.

AACTE Announces 2020 Technology Implementation Grant Recipients

Applications Now Accepted for AACTE’s Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant banner

AACTE is pleased to announce the 2020 recipients of the new AACTE Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant. AACTE offered the grant in partnership with Edthena to help educator preparation programs enhance training for future teachers in methods courses, field observations, skill building, and group learning via advanced technology.

“Both AACTE and Edthena understand that video observation technology has the potential to positively impact candidates during and after the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lynn M. Gangone, AACTE president and CEO. “AACTE is proud to collaborate with partners like Edthena to promote technology growth in schools and colleges of education.”

Take Clinical Practice to the Next Level at AACTE’s 2021 Annual Meeting

Engaging Diverse Communities
Take your clinical practice program to the next level with proven tips and best practices revealed during AACTE’s virtual 2021 Annual Meeting, February 24-26. Discover ways to explore, expand, and inspire new ideas about effective, clinically-rich partnerships in educator preparation through concurrent sessions focused on conference Strand IV: Clinical Practice and Community Engagement. Register now for access to the latest content on how to produce educators who are confident, learner-ready, and contextually aware in sessions such as:
  • Eliminating the Drive-By Field Experience: Co-Constructing a Model Based in Community Engagement
  • Exploring the Inequities of Student Teaching During the COVID Crises
  • Preparing University Faculty for Clinically-oriented, Practice-based Teacher Education
  • The Other Pandemic: Engaging Black Families During COVID-19
  • Incorporation of Virtual Simulations to Prepare Special Education Teacher Candidates to Collaborate with Racially, Culturally, and Linguistically Diverse Families
  • Pivoting into a Paradigm Shift: Clinical Experiences in Online Classrooms
  • Entrepreneurial School-Based Leadership and University Partnerships
Learn about these sessions and more in the AACTE Online Event Planner, available with 160 plus concurrent sessions!
 
Time is running out to get discounted rates for the AACTE 2021 Annual Meeting! Register by December 18 to receive the early bird registration rate! Visit www.aacte.org for conference details, follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and join the conversation using #AACTE21.

AACTE’s President/CEO Reflects on Using Virtual Simulation in Teacher Prep During Fireside Chat

AACTE & Mursion Virtual Reality ClassroomsMursion CEO Mark Atkinson hosted AACTE’s President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone for a virtual fireside chat in culmination of a multi-part series highlighting how Mursion’s virtual simulation classroom is being used in educator preparation programs. To start the conversation, Gangone reflected on how the pandemic has shaped the need to collaborate and to think differently on the delivery of instruction in the P-20 setting. She noted, “In our strategic planning process we created a vision to revolutionize education for all learners. We had no idea how prescient that was because of the pandemic.”

Rethinking clinical practice with the use of simulation is just one way in which innovation has supported the delivery of high-quality preparation without having to be on-the-ground. This helped accelerate AACTE’s collaboration with Mursion.

In addition to addressing the challenges and innovations brought on by the shift to virtual learning, Gangone and Atkinson also discussed efforts nationally to promote an antiracist agenda in schools to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of students. Gangone mentioned the importance of AACTE’s work in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion. “We know that we all have implicit bias and that systemic racism exists,” she said. “So AACTE has been doing a lot of work in this area, from entrance exams into programs to other barriers to enter the profession.”

The discussion also focused on how simulation can support both teacher candidates and teacher preparation faculty in addressing their own inherent or implicit biases, which often carry into the classroom. “Simulation gives us an opportunity to deal with our own biases in ways that are really powerful and not bring harm,” commented Gangone. Engaging teacher education faculty in the simulation space could not only help to address biases and equity, but to better understand social and emotional learning, and effective pedagogy. There are a great number of possibilities when thinking through combining scholarship with simulation to move the field of education forward. Atkinson noted, “There is so much that we can bring to the floor, for teachers and leaders together, to really improve the way children experience school once they can get back into them again.”

Listen to the full recording of this conversation.

AACTE and Mursion are collaborating to support teacher preparation through the pandemic and beyond. Learn more details about this collaboration.

Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During the Pandemic: A Win-Win for All

Supporting Inclusive SchoolsLast month, AACTE partnered with CCSSO, the Center on Great Teachers and Leaders at the American Institutes for Research, and the CEEDAR Center to discuss how teacher candidates can be leveraged as assets for PK-12 districts navigating online learning and uncertainty during the pandemic. During the webisode hosted by CCSSO, Loretta Mason-Williams from Binghamton University, Jacqueline Rodriguez from AACTE, and Christian Rodgers from AASA set the stage for how the needs of teacher candidates, schools, and families are changing in 2020. With this shift in needs comes opportunities for both schools and teacher candidates.

This webisode also featured faculty and staff from AACTE member institution, Boston University, and Boston public schools, along with Lindsey Decker, a current teacher candidate. Decker shared her experiences supporting her mentor teacher in an online environment and noted “teachers are looking for additional adults to be in the classrooms.” In the virtual environment, Decker said she works with learners in small breakout groups and “one-on-one to lessen the gap that we’re seeing from the pandemic.”

Mursion CEO Mark Atkinson to Host Lynn M. Gangone for a Fireside Chat on the Future of Education

Mursion CEO Mark Atkinson to Host Lynn M. Gangone for a Fireside Chat on the Future of EducationPlease join us Tuesday, November 17, 1:00 p.m. ET for a joint reflection on 2020 and a look forward to the coming year. Mursion Co-founder and CEO, Mark Atkinson will host a fireside chat with AACTE President and CEO Lynn M. Gangone. Join the conversation as they share their perspectives on

  • The current state of teacher prep programs
  • What will go back to “normal” vs. what innovations for coping with the pandemic will stay
  • Models and systems are on the table for reinvention, writ large, what does this mean for higher education?

Register now for the free event.

The recorded session will be available for viewing.

Applications Now Accepted for AACTE’s Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant

Applications Now Accepted for AACTE’s Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant banner

Applications are now being accepted for the new AACTE Video Observation Technology Implementation Grant. This opportunity, in collaboration with Edthena, is available exclusively to AACTE members.

Given the many challenges that educator preparation programs have weathered in 2020, AACTE and Edthena have created this grant opportunity to provide some much needed relief for up to 20 AACTE members. Each grantee will be awarded up to $25,000 in grant funds, which will be utilized to implement the Edthena platform for the upcoming Spring 2021 semester.

For those AACTE member institutions interested in applying:

  • Active AACTE members in good standing, and not already an Edthena partner, are eligible for the grant.
  • Matching of grant funds are not required during this Spring 2021 offering.
  • Continuing Edthena implementation after the grant period is not required.
  • Grantees will receive implementation and planning support from the Edthena team to build a deployment strategy for the spring semester.
  • Awardees will receive access to the relevant edTPA toolsets needed for your program (where applicable).
  • AACTE team members will also participate in onboarding training with grantees, where possible, to help connect awardees with additional resources.

AACTE and Edthena to Offer $500,000 in Grants for Teacher Preparation Video Observations

AACTE logo | Edthena Logo

AACTE is collaborating with Edthena to provide $500,000 in grant funding to teacher education programs for Spring 2021.

AACTE member institutions may apply by December 7, 2020, to receive up to $25,000 for implementing video observation technology to support their teacher candidates during COVID-19 and beyond. Through this partnership, up to twenty AACTE members will receive grants for the upcoming Spring 2021 academic term.

A leader in video observation and collaboration technology, Edthena is widely used by schools, districts, and teacher education programs across the country. The technology platform enables teacher candidates to upload videos of their practice and faculty to provide feedback at specific moments in time. An approved edTPA platform provider, Edthena’s video technology can be utilized in methods courses, field observations, edTPA skill building, and group learning, making it possible to capture data for candidate growth and program improvement.

From Pivoting to Disrupting the Status Quo

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.

Complete CEEDAR Survey on Virtual Instruction

A girl with disabilities using a laptop for a school lessonThe CEEDAR Center is working on a collaborative effort to collect information from educator preparation programs across the country who are implementing effective, practice-based opportunities for teacher candidates within a virtual space. We’d like to invite you, your colleagues, and your partners (if applicable) to participate in a survey focused on online education for teachers of students with disabilities. 

If you previously utilized an online teacher education program before COVID-19, and/or have adapted your program and/or clinical preparation model to accommodate a hybrid and/or online teacher education model during COVID-19, CEEDAR would love to hear from you. Please spend a few minutes completing this survey.

Uninterrupted Support in an Interrupted Semester

This is Part 1 of an article by Hannah Reeder and Betsy Rosenbalm of Appalachian State University in which they share how they had to pivot student teaching and new teacher preparation during the spring 2020 semester as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Teacher is helping one of her primary school students in the classroom. They are sitting at a table using a digital tablet.

When schools suddenly closed in March of 2020, student teachers and beginning teachers quickly shifted their newly learned pedagogical skills to deliver instruction and grow professionally almost solely by virtual means. The Office of Field Experiences and the Public School Partnership in the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University supplied an uninterrupted flow of resources, professional development, and interaction with professional educators in the field.  This shifted from pivoting out of necessity to attempting to disrupt the status quo.  We were quickly introduced to “our new normal”!

Appalachian State University has18 teacher education programs and produces about 450-500 teachers each year. During the student teaching semester, teacher candidates are placed in 45 districts across the state of North Carolina and supervision is conducted by 30-40 part-time University Field Supervisors.

The Public School Partnership provides support, professional development, and resources to 12 school districts in the northwest region of North Carolina. The NC New Teacher Support Program is housed in the Public School Partnership. This program provides weekly coaching and regular professional development to teachers in their first, second, or third years of teaching in those same districts within our area of the state. 

Join CCSSO’s Webisode on Mitigating Learning Loss: Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During COVID-19

Teacher smiling with arms crossed in a classroomAs students and teachers continue to navigate remote and hybrid learning environments, many are feeling overwhelmed. Parents and teachers are worried about the learning loss that has already and continues to occur during the pandemic. District staff are trying to address budget and service delivery uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 crisis. All of these factors may minimize important opportunities for collaboration between educator preparation programs and school districts. However, the repeated pandemic theme of getting through this together may be the key to addressing some of these challenges. Through collaboration with P-12 teachers, teacher candidates can assist in remote and hybrid learning in several ways to include co-teaching and one-on-one student support.

To discuss these opportunities for collaboration and to share examples of how teacher candidates are supporting teachers during this crisis, CCSSO is hosting a webisode on Mitigating Learning Loss: Leveraging Teacher Candidates as Assets During COVID-19. This webisode will feature key recommendations and discussion around the joint issue brief from CEEDAR, the Center for Great Teachers and Leaders at AIR, and AACTE released this summer: Addressing Shortages of Educators in an Uncertain COVID-19 Landscape: Viewing Teacher Candidates as Assets.

Strengthening Teacher Preparation: Aligning Curriculum

This article, part two of a three-part series, originally appeared on the Education First Blog and is reprinted with permission.

Tackling curriculum in a teacher preparation program is complicated work. At Jackson State, we have three pathways and 18 teaching faculty members across multiple course offerings in the junior and senior course sequence run by the college of education. But we knew that if we wanted to truly transform the experience and eventual effectiveness of our teacher candidates, overhauling the clinical experience—which I described in my previous post—wasn’t enough. And we knew we needed to come together as a team of administrators and faculty to develop a strong vision for the why and how to do it successfully. 

In 2016, we set two goals for ourselves: first, we needed to tightly align each course to the Mississippi Teacher Intern Assessment Instrument (TIAI), the instructional rubric we use to measure our candidates’ proficiency with teaching. (As I described in my previous post, US PREP was a key partner and critical friend in all of our transformation work, including the curriculum work.) This alignment work included revisiting the early field experiences embedded in coursework that precedes candidates’ formal clinical experience. Second, we revisited the sequence of courses to ensure within each pathway, faculty could build teacher candidate skills in a logical progression.  

Fast forward to today: although daunting, we did it. With US PREP’s support and the momentum from our clinical experience work, we channeled the urgency we all felt to achieve our goals. With the exception of a few legacy candidates, our teacher candidates are right now taking revamped courses. And by this time next fall, we will have fully implemented the program-wide curriculum changes.

Clinically Rich Programs in New York: Teacher Residency Pilot at the College of Staten Island

This article is part of a series on clinically rich teacher preparation in New York State, coordinated by Prepared To Teach at Bank Street College. The text is adapted from their latest report, Making Teacher Preparation Policy Work: Lessons From and For New York, and shared by the featured institution.

Teacher Residency Pilot Participants at the College of Staten Island

The College of Staten Island (CSI) enrolls many diverse first-generation college students. A number of these students support their families and themselves, working multiple jobs and limiting expenses while studying—making it impossible to pursue a traditional student teaching pathway that includes a semester of unpaid, full-time student teaching. Seeing that many students were effectively being excluded from teacher preparation, the College and its partner schools set out to create a teacher residency that paid students for their time spent in classrooms, providing an accessible path to a teaching career.

Navigating the COVID-19 Maze

This article originally appeared in University Business and is reprinted with permission.

College graduate

Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

At the onset of the 2020-21 academic year, the educational system is in a coronavirus maze, wherein the turns are constantly changing, and the end seems out of sight. While state education departments, school districts and educator preparation programs (EPPs) are prepared—whether in class, online, or a hybrid of both—the pandemic reminds us how unpredictable the road ahead may be. Recently, some schools in the United States that reopened for in-class instruction have reversed their plans due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

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