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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Virtual Teachers For The Future

This is a thread that came from a listserve that I am on which I thought may be of interest to my readers (and may be something you'd like to comment on).

I deal with preservice teachers, most of whom have never taught before (a few are on alternative certification). I've noticed that when training inservice teachers to become online instructors, much of the professional development is online so they're getting online experience that way. However, my students get no such online experience in our traditional stand-alone technology class. My idea is that we'd be doing them a favor if, somewhere in their teacher preparation program, we gave them the opportunity to be online students. In fact, I'm thinking that if the online P-12 virtual schools trend continues, some amount of training in being a virtual teacher needs to be covered in our teacher ed program.

Do any of you work at institutions that take into account teaching new teachers the skills needed for becoming online instructors?

Shelley McCoy
PhD Candidate
Instructional Technology
College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences
University of Tennesee-Knoxville

We at the University of Michigan-Flint have an entire certificate program for middle and high school teachers who want to learn to teach online. It is comprised of noncredit modules that carry State Board Continuing Education Units (SB-CEUs). Our academic students can take these courses for credit by enrolling in a special projects course and selecting modules that add up to 15 SB-CEUs for each academic credit (maximum three credits).

Deborah White, Director, Office of Extended Learning
University of Michigan-Flint

Dr. Niki Davis, of Iowa State, (nedavis@iastate.edu) leads a federally funded project on preparing teachers to teach in online environments. You may wish to contact her.
Tom Andre

Thomas Andre
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education
Director, Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education
College of Human Sciences
E262 Lagomarcino Hall
Ames, IA, 50011-3191
voice 515-294-7804
fax 515-294-7802

Let me add that the project that Dr. Niki Davis is working on is called Teacher Education Goes Into Virtual Schooling (TEGIVS) project, which I mentioned in an entry back on May 9, 2007 (see Virtual Teaching Internships).

So, what do you think?

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Blogger Jason, INeedAPencil.com said...

As a recent high school grad headed for Harvard in a month, I am intrigued this reverse experience as an online educator. Having online educators experience being a student seems like a necessary no brainer. Online educators should also observe or sit in (in the case of distance learning via online chat) on sessions conducted by more experienced virtual teachers. These concepts are simply evolved training methods used for teachers in classrooms. This seems to be along the lines of what was discussed in The World is Flat in terms of adopting traditional practices to fit the new age we're in. It will be interesting to see how educators will adjust and which guidelines will shape their training.


11:34 PM  
Blogger MKB said...

Thanks for the comment Jason. Yes it does seem logical, but you would be surprised the training, or lack thereof, that many virtual schools provide to their teachers prior to them actually teaching in a virtual environment. The Virtual High School consortium group and the Michigan Virtual High School have two of the better programs that I have seen.


8:29 PM  

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