Last March, many educators were caught off guard—and dismayed—when they learned their school doors were closing and teaching would move online due to COVID-19. Rightfully so. They simply were not prepared for one of our nation’s greatest education experiments turning in-class instruction into online learning with a flip of a switch.
While some schools had already implemented remote learning strategies, the vast majority believed that teaching online and in blended environments would happen sometime in the future. No one anticipated that PK-12 schools and universities would be forced online overnight—without a plan.
The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 shed a light on the need to enhance online teaching curricula in our educator preparation programs. Prior to the pandemic, most teacher education programs prepared candidates to go into brick and mortar schools, so their emphasis on teaching online was minimal. Often, teacher candidates were taught to use technology in classrooms as a tool to convey information or allow students to seek answers. What was not being done was a wide scale effort to prepare future teachers to model and integrate online technology in their pedagogical approaches.