The second session that I am blogging from the Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education (SITE) International Conference is:
How Teacher Certification Programs Must Change to Meet the Growing Demand for Online Classes
Christopher Vieira, California State University, Fresno: Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, United States, California State University, Fresno: Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, United States
Glenn DeVoogd, California State University, Fresno: Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, United States, California State University, Fresno: Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, United States
Many teachers are graduating their certification programs with high qualifications to teach students in traditional classrooms, but lack the skills necessary to teach in the 21st century online classroom. Online high schools are changing the face of how students are learning in virtual environments and with the explosive growth of online charter schools, teachers of traditional high schools must keep up with the strategies and best practices that are making those schools more attractive to students who prefer to learn with the use of multimedia and technology. Some estimates predict that half of all high school classes in the United States will be taught online by the 2019 (iNACOL, 2011). Teacher education programs must prepare for this transition by training teachers in the proper use of technology and teaching within a virtual environment. Current research indicates how teacher preparation programs can improve to meet this demand.
Christopher began with the problem – citing Kennedy and Archambault’s (2012) figure that 1.3% of teacher education programs have any K-12 online learning focus. At the same time, more states are requiring students to learn online (and iNACOL predicts that half of all learning will be online in the next decade – I think he meant Christensen, Horn and Johnson).
In terms of what teacher education programs should focus on, Christopher used the model by Compton, Davis and Mackey (2009): competence, field experience in online instruction, and virtual community. He also added research in online teacher education.
The example that he used was Second Life and gave several instances of university environments that are using Second Life. He did acknowledge that few K-12 programs use this environment, and suggested that many K-12 programs would like to use these kinds of environments. His second example was Google Docs, and the third example was Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). One of the things that I would say about these examples, they may be more suited to what we currently find in the blended environment (particularly the first two). Online programs tend to use learning management systems more, and teaching in that kind of asynchronous system is quite different (and probably needed more when preparing pre-service teachers to teach online).