Faced with the challenge of training Career & Technical Educators (CTE) in rural areas, the authors developed a hybrid delivery system that would minimize and condense face-to-face instruction, while integrating distance components through the use of two-way interactive technology and an online course management system. The program described in this chapter is for new teachers, designed to model classroom teaching techniques, methods of delivery, and best teaching practices. The online components combined with the two-way interactive system give new teachers the opportunity to shares ideas and issues with the whole class, either face-to-face or online. This model is based on the premise that the new teacher will also obtain many teaching skills by being actively engaged in the teaching process, guided by a capable mentor at her site. The purpose of this chapter is to unveil an e-learning model that accommodates distance students, especially those in the teaching profession.
When looking at the best methods for training instructors and teachers, we should focus on best ways to learn; after all, that is the primary task of teachers: to deliver content in a way that their students will grasp it. Much of the brain research conducted over the past three decades has led to studies that focus on brain-compatible teaching and learning. The brain has a natural way of acquiring and networking information. Brain-compatible learning is a construct within the theory of teaching techniques that include inquiry, discovery learning and constructivism. Teaching literature (e.g., Caine & Caine, 1991; Erlauer, 2003; Gardner, 1993) supports the theory that teaching techniques that align with the natural way the brain learns increase the potential for learning and the depth of knowledge gained from such learning experiences.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Interactive Video Conferencing (IVC): Also known as 2-way interactive video, video teleconferencing, and a variety of other names; used to communicate real-time with remote sites, using video/audio technology. The key is that the distance student must interact with the other students and the instructor.
Jigsaw: A cooperative learning strategy that enables a student or group of students to master the material for one aspect of a learning unit, and then teach it to the rest of the class.
Phone Bridge Connection: Two-way interactive audio only; what most people would call a conference call; allows users to call into a meeting, using a phone bridge number or ID; sometimes used in conjunction with a one-way or two-way video internet connection.
Distributed Learning: Educational activities orchestrated via information technology across classrooms, workplaces, homes, and community settings and based on a mixture of presentational and “constructivist” (guided inquiry, collaborative learning, mentoring) pedagogies.
Experiential Learning: Learning by doing; learning from life experiences; experience and reflection on the experience.
Voice-Over-IP: Transmission of voice data using an internet protocol.
E-Learning: A variety of learning experiences, utilizing electronic technologies.
Career and Technical Education (CTE): Formerly known as vocational education; includes technical programs such as computer-aided drafting, dental assisting, automotive technology, hospitality management, welding, and culinary arts.
Course Management System (CMS): Also known as a learning management system; an online course companion that can be used to post handouts, lead discussion topics, receive and return assignments, track student progress, post grades, etc.
Teacher Authorization Program (TAP): A teacher preparation program for CTE teachers, as part of the Colorado credentialing process; consists of methods courses.
Brain-Compatible Learning: Any number of teaching techniques that employ methods of how the brain learns naturally; for example, engaging students through novel approaches, arousing their curiosity, and providing meaningful connections to the ‘real world’.