Face-to-face clinical field experience cancelled? Find out how teacher candidates can safely practice instructional strategies through virtual reality (VR) classrooms.
Join the AACTE and Mursion co-sponsored webinar, “Feasibility & Utility of Mixed Reality Simulations in Higher Education,” presented by guest speakers from AACTE and Kennesaw State University tomorrow, Tuesday, June 30 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The presenters will share their wealth of experience using mixed reality solutions and will engage in critical dialogue on the feasibility and utility of mixed reality simulations in higher education. You will discover how virtual simulations help teacher candidates develop high-leverage practices before entering real-world clinical experiences.
As we look toward fall 2020, it is clear that PK-12 schools will continue to use some blend of online and face-to-face learning as they deal with social distancing requirements and a possible resurge of COVID-19 cases. Teaching effectively with technology is now an essential competency for all educators.
This summer provides a window of opportunity to deepen teacher candidates’ ability to effectively use technology to support learning. But that shift will not happen through checklists or tool training alone. Educators need explicit strategies and peer support. They also need professional learning experiences that will count towards their ongoing career development and continuing education credits.
To address these issues, AACTE is proud to team up with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) to launch a Summer Learning Academy designed to prepare K-12 educators and teacher candidates for teaching in online and blended learning settings this fall.
This fun 3-week summer learning experience will provide the online teaching support educators have been asking for in a flexible format that meets their needs. Educators who successfully complete the program earn continuing education units (CEUs) and graduate-level credit.
While some of our most vulnerable learners are left behind due to lack of computers or internet connectivity, and we need to strive for policies to end the digital divide, the COVID-19 pandemic also has revealed the long-term staying power of teaching and learning in both brick-and-mortar and distance learning environments.
As a teacher educator preparing new and veteran teachers to use technology in learning, I know the magic sauce of technology integration is not found in the tool itself, rather the instructional strategies that teachers use in conjunction with the tool.
In order to prepare new teachers to integrate technology to support blended learning, I show teachers how to use the Triple E Framework to evaluate how well a lesson is integrating technology using research-informed approaches. The Triple E Framework is a validated research-informed tool to assess how effectively the technology and the instructional strategies around the technology is helping to engage students in the learning goals, enhance students’ understanding of the learning goals, and extend students’ everyday connection to the learning goals. The Triple E Framework encourages teachers to ask three questions related to each E (engagement, enhancement, and extension) when designing or evaluating lessons with technology. As the teacher answers each question, a score is given, with each question receiving a score between 0 and 2. Ultimately the teachers’ lesson ends up with a total score in a range from 0 to 18. The closer the score is to 18, the better connected the technology choices, instructional strategies, and learning goals are observed in a lesson. When a lesson has a score less than 13, teachers are encouraged to 1) reconsider the tool choice, and/or 2) consider adding research-based instructional strategies around the tool to help boost the score, thus making the technology tools and strategies around the tool better connected to the learning outcomes.
The past several months have gone by in a blur for the world as rushed plans were created in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. There were many questions that surrounded education. How would we transition to an online learning platform? How would we ensure all students had equal access to devices and the internet? How would we reach students’ social-emotional needs?
Another challenge facing school districts was how to best support teachers. The short turnaround time that brick and mortar districts had to transition into online schools was a daunting task! How would professional development be facilitated? How would the delivery be and when/how would they require teachers to complete the training?
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, teacher preparation programs are faced with the difficulty of how to support and evaluate candidates in the field. Here in Washington state, we already face a shortage of willing mentors to host our candidates. A recent study by Western Washington University and my colleagues at the University of Washington estimated that only 3-4% of teachers serve as mentors any given year. According to the findings of a state workgroup in which I participated, this trend is even more pronounced among rural and remote school districts. As a result, programs throughout our state are looking for effective ways to further support our candidates in the field, particularly in rural and remote areas.
One solution that is effective and can support efforts to maintain teacher certifications, including during the pandemic, is the use of online observations. We began using Edthena in 2015, and over the last 5 years, we have witnessed tremendous success and accessibility, especially for candidates in rural and remote school districts. We utilize Edthena’s platform as part of multiple measures to assess candidates in field placements. Field supervisors can use the online video tool in conjunction with traditional in-person observations, providing a nice mixture of evidence for our program to assess our candidates’ readiness towards licensure. Here are some of the highlights of our experience using online video observations.
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.”