Optimizing K-12 Education through Effective Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from a Synchronous Online Pilot Study

Optimizing K-12 Education through Effective Educator Preparation: Lessons Learned from a Synchronous Online Pilot Study

Mary Kathryn McVey (Franciscan University, USA), Susan Poyo (Franciscan University, USA) and Mary Lucille Smith (Franciscan University, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0507-5.ch002
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Abstract

Teacher interaction, presence, and participation in online and blended courses are key to facilitating student learning and student satisfaction. Those being prepared to teach in online K-12 environments must learn the knowledge, content, skills, and dispositions relevant to the online learner of the digital age, and particularly to incorporate into online courses the appropriate methods, including Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK). It is imperative that educator preparation programs provide its candidates with authentic field experiences in K-12 digital environments. This chapter includes findings of a pilot study that examined challenges faced by teacher candidates placed in an online student teaching environment and provides recommendations for course design, faculty support, infrastructure, and future research direction.
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Background

Faculty who teach in educator preparation programs must recognize the urgency of preparing pre-service and in-service educators who are amenable and equipped to instruct students in virtual environments or contexts (Gunter & Gunter, 2014; Kennedy & Archambault, 2012; National Education Association, n.d.; Rice, Johnson, Ezell, & Pierczynski-Ward, 2008; Rice & Dawley, 2009). In the recent publication Guide to Teaching Online Courses, the National Education Association implores all teacher education programs to include instruction in online education and all accreditation organizations to assess these programs in their competency to equip future educators to teach in a virtual learning environment (NEA, n.d.). While steadily increasing numbers of schools are adopting instructional technology (The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 2013), it is questionable how effectively these technologies are being used (Gronseth et al., 2010; Koenig, 2011).

Changes in the field of education require teachers to acquire specific knowledge of technology and its effective use in the classroom (Koehler & Mishra, 2005). Teacher preparation programs provide a starting point for creating technologically proficient teachers. Competent use of instructional technology is foundational to effective teaching in both higher education and K-12 environments (AACTE, 2010; AACTE, 2013). Two approaches to integrating technology education into the teacher preparation programs have been primarily utilized. These include stand-alone technology courses and modeling the use of technology. Neither adequately prepares in-service teachers to use online technology effectively.

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