Distance Learning | News

Report: Teacher Prep Programs Need To Better Prepare Candidates for Online, Blended Learning

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) has released a new report, Partnering for Success: A 21st Century Model for Teacher Preparation, that examines collaborations between educator preparation programs and online schools.

"Too few educator and leadership preparation programs are up to the task of modernized teacher training for the 21st century," wrote iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick in the foreword to the report. "A bright spot, however, has been the growing number of innovative teacher preparation programs that have formed partnerships with blended and online schools around the country."

The report offers case studies from Boise State University and Idaho Digital Learning Academy, Florida State University and Florida Virtual School, Wayne State University, Arizona State University and Florence Virtual Academy, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and TRECA Digital Academy, University of Central Florida and Florida Virtual School, and Utah State University and Utah Virtual Academy.

"No teacher should start their career with anything less than complete confidence that they have been effectively prepared for Day One, " added Patrick. "The partnerships highlighted here are poised to make that a reality and provide guideposts to rethinking and modernizing educator preparation programs for today’s schools."

Recommendations of the report include:

  • As pre-service and in-service training is no longer limited by geography, a new approach for licensing and background checks that can be accepted across state lines is needed;
  • A searchable database with location, course level, subject area, and placement requirements should be established to help educator preparation programs find suitable partners;
  • "Common research-based guidelines, resources, and strategies" should be "provided so that teacher education programs have a clear focus on the knowledge and skills that need to be fostered among teacher candidates," wrote Leanna Archambault, coauthor and assistant professor of educational technology at Arizona State University;
  • Virtual schools should provide specific guidance on the structure and content of their programs; and
  • Development of an online repository of open educational resources chosen to help prepare pre-service and in-service teachers for online teaching.

"Increasingly, as a function of the digital age in which we live, teachers will need to be 
able to teach effectively in online and blended settings," Archambault wrote in the conclusion of the study. "An important part of achieving this goal is for post-secondary institutions to work together with course providers to provide both coursework as well as relevant field experiences so that teachers are able to hone their skills prior to entering the online classroom for the first time."

More information about iNACOL is available at the organization's site. Go to inacol.org to read the full report.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at [email protected].

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