How do we equip teachers with the skills needed to integrate online lessons, learning games and other tools into their classrooms?

Teachers interested in using online lessons and other technologies must train themselves to pick the best tools and adapt them for their classrooms.

Overview

  • Schools of education are not training teachers to think of technology as a critical component of the teaching and learning process.

    • Technology courses in undergraduate and graduate teaching programs address technology as a tool to improve personal and professional productivity but do not address how it can be used to rethink and redesign student assignments and interactions.
    • Over 80% of teachers are trained in traditional education schools; 65% of current teachers entered the field following undergraduate training in elementary and secondary education.
    • Of principals who are hesitant to integrate technology into their schools, over 40% attribute their trepidation to teachers being undertrained.
  • Professional development on technology use is lagging in relevance, timeliness and personalization.

    • Teachers receive training on individual solutions (e.g., Pearson provides training to classrooms using SchoolNet), but this does not address holistic technology use.
    • Professional development is not dynamic or innovative; it provides best practices for the status quo of teaching and learning; two-thirds of public school teachers received fewer than 8 hours of technology-oriented professional development training in 2009.
    • Most districts spend 1-3% of their budget on professional development; some experts suggest it should be as high as 10%.
    • Teachers do not have adequate time during the school day or school year to find professional development resources tailored to tech use or collaborate with their peers; comparatively, teachers in in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea have smaller teaching loads and spend 40-55% of their time training, collaborating and planning.
  • See it

Current Efforts

  • Higher ed / K-12 partnerships

  • The Network for Excellence in Teaching (NExT) is a three-year, $40 million initiative to redesign the way teachers are trained at 14 universities in Minnesota, North and South Dakota funded by philanthropic support. The program is partnering with the districts likely to hire these teachers to ensure that teachers are trained for innovative environments that schools are actually implementing.

  • Columbia University’s Center for Technology and School Change partners with schools to develop systemic change that incorporates technology into the teaching and learning process. Work at CTSC is built on a foundation of research and collaboration with other institutes at Columbia’s Teachers College
  • Higher ed initiatives

    • TeachLive Lab is an initiative piloted at University of Central Florida and now incorporated into 10 teaching programs that enables teachers to work with a virtually simulated students to test innovative practices.

  • School-directed efforts

    • San Diego-area charter school network High Tech High built their own graduate school of education because they found traditionally trained teachers did not have skills needed to teach in a technology-based classroom.