Teacher education goes on line


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Teacher education goes on line

  1. 1. With technologies like satellite distance learning telecommunications that can be espe cially useful to educators are satellite and computer-mediated communications, teachers are delivery of instruction and computer- - beginning to set educational goals that were not mediated communication. possible before this age of electronic communications. LYNNE SCHRUM Commonly called distance education, satellite delivery of instruction involves It turns on the light for me! I keep Second, and perhaps more impor combinations of interactive equipment. up with educational literature, tantly, the technologies provide an A satellite signal, sent from an "uplink" research, and general information opportunity for educators to become station where programming originates, plus I can discuss things online that familiar with interactive media in can be received in schools equipped we do not talk about in my school. with a targe receive dish. Paired with natural and comfortable settings in which the equipment becomes almost two-way audio communication, the Kathy, an elementary teacher video signal allows students and invisible within the learning experi ences. Most new teachers, even those teachers to interact regardless of who have taken a course in educational geographic location. Following are three U sing technology to communicate technology during their preservice examples of how this type of tech with geographically distant training, report they are not comfortable nology is used in teacher education. colleagues, Kathy is part of the with the technologies (U.S. Congress Iowa State University. One of the new Information Age. Politicians and policymakers constantly remind educa 1988). Yet educators face continuing most difficult tasks of teacher prepara tors of their duty to introduce students demands to become proficient with tion has always been demonstrating technology in many forms and new examples of good teaching. Student to the tools of this new age. Yet educa tors seldom get the time to experiment, teachers are expected to leave the interns typically observe five or six leam. and practice integrating these university with knowledge in this area. master teachers. Iowa State University's technologies into their classrooms. This Although many reformers charac unique program provides many more article will describe current innovative terize teachers as resistant to technolog diverse, high-quality introductory expe uses of technology in the education of ical innovations, they typically ignore riences of exemplary teaching. future teachers and inservice of prac the teachers' perspectives in imple Now in its fifth year. Teachers on ticing teachers, and provide an overview menting changes (Cuban 1986). In a Television (TOT) chooses teachers for of ways in which these information study of one statewide telecommunica their diversity in grade level, teaching technologies can be used to enhance tions system for distance education, style, and educational philosophy. educational experiences in teaching and teachers were almost entirely ignored in Before each broadcast, the participating learning. planning and implementation meetings. teacher supplies information about the Not surprisingly, the teachers have instructional setting. During the broad refrained from supporting the system cast, an education faculty member helps (Schrum 1991). students bridge education theory with Educators are using information tech If we incorporated technology into actual teaching practice. At the end of nologies to achieve two simultaneous teacher education and professional the broadcast, students participate in a goals. First, telecommunications can development activities, we might follow-up interview with me teacher. provide educational opportunities not provide educators with the time they They discuss that teacher's teaching previously possible and enable users to need to gain confidence, identify appro style and their own future plans and overcome distances, interact with model priate uses, and experiment with identify successes and problems (U.S. teachers and experts, and reduce turn specific techniques for their own class Congress 1989). around time for collegia! interactions. rooms. Two frequently used forms of Turn to page 41 NOVEMBER 1991
  2. 2. Learn Alaska. A number of states are sent an electronic message to former instructional resource" (U.S. Congress currently delivering professional devel classmates and instructors around the 1989, p. 13). opment programs via satellite. Teachers country. Within hours of sending this This project began with an equipment in rural areas may not have easy access SOS, Houck received practical advice grant from IBM, software donations, to graduate courses, recertification and moral support. Afterwards, Houck and support from the local telephone classesj or updates for regional or felt relieved: "I was really lost. The service. Operating costs have been national mandates (special education or emotional support I got back helped" shared by local school systems and the AIDS information, for example). With (Rodman 1989, p. 33). Curry School of Education. Students satellite transmissions, however, This incident took place on an elec and faculty exchange lesson plans, geographic isolation no longer means tronic bulletin board in one of several obtain peer support, provide feedback educational isolation. Teachers around experiments to better prepare and and clarification, schedule meetings, the country are now able to learn from support new teachers. Computer-medi and share curriculum ideas. recognized experts in specific fields ated communication (CMC), defined Harvard School of Education. with reasonable costs. here as communication across distances Harvard University's Graduate School In 1987 Alaska began an extensive using personal computers, modems, of Education has found a way to better distance education project, "Learn phone lines, and computer networks, address the needs of teachers (Rodman Alaska." One part of the project focused has several unique characteristics. CMC 1989). Typically teachers in their first on professional development for educa provides immediate communication, job are some distance from the support tors using video and audio transmis access to previously unavailable and wisdom of trusted colleagues and sions. Programs featured educators like communities, multiple participation in instructors- Fifteen percent of new the internationally known "Art Maker," activities, and a window to the richness teachers leave teaching after the first Dan Mihuta, who described techniques of our world. year, perhaps because of this lack of for art instruction in elementary schools, Two important features stand out: support. or provided instruction on the use of CMC is essentially a medium of written Katherine Merseth, former director drama in counseling teenage students discourse with the spontaneity and flexi of teacher preparation at Harvard, (Bramble 1988). bility of spoken conversation, and it is a came up with a unique idea. Using a Los Angeles staff development. This powerful tool for group communication personal computer and modem, faculty technology is not limited to use in rural and cooperative learning. In a case can provide support to first-year areas, however. In Los Angeles, where a study of a graduate seminar that used teachers, as can their own peers. Using late afternoon drive across town can take face-to-face meetings in combination grant money, Merseth launched the up to two hours, the County Office of with electronic projects and communi project in 1987. During the first two Education provides staff development cation, participants felt they had better years of the project, approximately 90 via satellite. Programming is provided at collegia! interactions, worked more participants transmitted more than no charge to 62 districts in the county cooperatively with others, and had a 7,500 messages. and 25 others around the state. Staff more substantive relationship with the This network also helps former development telecasts in curriculum professor than in other classes (Schrum students continue discussions about the reform are the most frequent broadcasts. 1990). education issues, theory, and policy that Programs are live and interactive; Curry School of Education. For had become so much a part of their lives viewers are able to call in their questions example, the Curry School of Education at the university. After listening to the and comments. Many programs allow at the University of Virginia created testimony of dozens of Harvard gradu time for participants at local sites to Teacher-LINK, an electronic bulletin ates, Merseth is certain she is "on to discuss ideas and then offer them to board system to connect student : something. This is a coming thing." presenters and other groups. teachers in the field with their university Mary Driscoll, a teacher in a Boston professors. Students, who are given an alternative school, agrees: "Being on the account on the network when they enter network helped me keep a sense of the the program, are-able to communicate bigger picture and what the whole with professors, colleagues, and class endeavor of education is all about" "I'm in dire need of help! At this point I room teachers. The originators of the (Rodman 1989, p. 34). feel like one of those teachers I always program hope that "by graduation, they University of Oregon. When the said shouldn't be teaching," stated Anita will use the network as fluently as the University of Oregon briefly imple Houck's message. Houck asked for help blackboard and become the first genera mented a fifth-year teacher certification from colleagues, but not on the tele tion of teachers trained to use an program, it made integration of tech phone or in the teachers' lounge. She extended academic community as an nology into the curriculum one of three NOVEMBER 1991
  3. 3. main themes for the teaching strategies arrange for their students to interact and instruction. Faculty and students with classes around the world, investi began to communicate with each other gate remote sources of information, and Anderson-Inman, L. (1990). "Enhancing electronically and to use the common facilitate the democratic process as the Reading-Writing Connection: Class electronic bulletin board system for groups share information equally. room Applications." The Writing Note announcements and general discussions. Students learn to recognize the similari book!, 3 : 12-15. Originally it was hoped that cooper Bramble, W. J. (1988). "Distance Learning ties among all citizens and to celebrate in Alaska's Rural Schools." Networking ating teachers, supervisors, and student the distinctive aspect of each culture. in Education: Learning Tomorrow, interns would share experiences and Teachers are beginning to set educa edited by S. Ambron and R. Pennington. feedback using the network. But there tional goals that were not possible before Cupertino: Apple Computer Company. was not enough time for participants to this age of electronic communications. Butler, G., and H. M. Jobe. (1987). "The learn the system and there was limited These goals support all curricular areas, Australian-American Connection." The access to equipment. One supervisor but especially the writing process. Computing Teacher 1 4, 7: 25-26. said, "I can't see using it for immediate Recent research validates teachers' long- Cuban, L. (1986). "teachers and feedback or evaluation yet Later on, held belief that students write more care Machines: The Classroom Use of when we become more comfortable fully, edit their work, and plan more Technology Since 1920. New York: with the computer system, I would like Teachers College Press. extensively when they are communi Riel, M. (1987). "The Intercultural to offer the students opportunities to cating with an audience of peers Learning Network." The Computing interact with other preservice classes (Anderson-Inman 1990, Kiel 1990). Teacher 1 4. 7: 27-30. around the world." Projects reported in educational jour Riel, M. (1990). "Building a New Founda CMC is also being used in teacher nals reflect this diversity: tion for Global Communities." The development and enhancement The Inter Puerto Rico and San Diego classes Writing Notebook 7, 3: 35-37. national Society of Technology in Educa participated in bilingual education Rodman, B. H. (1989). "An Online Life tion (ISTE) offers an independent study projects (Sayers and Brown 1987); line." Teacher, 1 ,1: 33-35. course, 'Telecommunications and Infor Australian-American connections Sayers, D., and K. Brown. (1987). "Bilin mation Access for Educators." Partici shared national information and planned gual Education and Telecommunica pants exchange electronic mail, participate tions: A Perfect Fit." The Computing a joint Halloween party (Butler and Teacher 1 4, 7: 23-24. in computer conferencing, and search Jobe 1987); Schrum, L. (1989). "Hooked into Science." remote databases. The entire course takes Sixteen countries produced a water The Computing Teacher 1 7, 1: 14-17. place online, which speeds turnaround collection and usage survey (Schrum Schrum, L. (1990). "A Descriptive Case time for assignments and increases the 1989); Study: Telecommunications Enters the number of student/instructor interactions. Tokyo and San Diego university Doctoral Seminar." Manuscript Educators earn four graduate credits from students discussed issues such as submitted for publication. the Oregon Stale System of Higher suicide, peaceful alternatives to war, Schrum, L. (1991). "Innovation and the Education while learning the technologies and water supply systems (Riel 1987). Process of Change: A Case Study in they will need for the future. Distance Education." Doctoral diss., University of Oregon, 1991. U.S. Congress, Office of Technology The activities reported here are demon Assessment. (1988). Power On! New Tools for Teaching and Learning. stration projects. Technologies like (OTA-SET-379 ed.). Washington, D.C.: Once teachers are comfortable with satellite distance learning and computer- U.S. Government Printing Office. these emerging technologies, many mediated communications can be used U.S. Congress, Office of Technology classroom uses become possible. The to accomplish dual goals for teacher Assessment. (1989). Linking for technologies provide exceptional oppor preparation: they enhance meaningful Learning: A New Course for Education. tunities to meet educational goals, preservice experiences and they give (OTA-SET-430 ed.). Washington, D.C.: enhance personal and professional teachers knowledge and confidence U.S. Government Printing Office. development, and diminish teacher about using these tools in their class isolation. All levels of education rooms. These technologies are changing universities, K-12, and continuing preservice and staff development educa education can now be electronically tion. Once teachers become familiar and s Instructor and linked to each other and to informal comfortable with these technologies, Researcher, Center for Advanced Tech learning institutions such as museums unlimited opportunities exist for their nology in Education, University of Oregon, and public libraries. Teachers can students and themselves. D 1787 Agate St.. Eugene, OR 97403. EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP
  4. 4. Copyright © 1991 by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. All rights reserved.