If the way we teach and learn is changing, the way that teachers learn should be changing, too. What are schools of education doing to keep ahead?
The following is a handful of examples of teacher education schools and programs whose progressive, tech-infused approach toward 21st century teaching is helping educators enter the classroom well-prepared.
- Teachers College of San Joaquin in Stockton, California, emphasizes "multiple learning pathways," or the need to approach an academic subject from many different angles to accommodate different learning styles, and in linking the real world to the classroom. TCSJ was also the first college of its kind to trade textbooks for the iPad, so that all prospective teachers well-versed in using the iPad for everything from their own edification (watching instructional videos, say) and that of their students (teachers-in-training are encouraged to use the iPad as a tool in their classrooms and then bring the results back to their peers at TCSJ).
- California State University-Fullerton has a one-to-one laptop cohort program that plunges a group of student teachers into the world of interactive whiteboards, digital media tools, and Web 2.0 teaching strategies, as well as the opportunity to teach in local one-to-one laptop schools as part of their field work. Also, CSU-Fullerton just graduated its first class of doctorates concentrating in community college leadership.
- The University of Central Florida is one of the very small number of schools of education that offer virtual-school training options for teachers-to-be. Through a partnership with Florida Virtual School, the nation's first public online school, UCF education students can choose the instructional technology and media track in either the master's or PhD program and apprentice with virtual school teachers.
- Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia has a long history of lauded practices in teacher education, including a five-year combined bachelor's and master's program for students that straddles both the Curry School of Education and the U.Va. College of Arts and Sciences. Recently, the school teamed up with U.Va.'s engineering school to invigorate STEM education. The Curry Library Innovations Commons on campus is a model for the library of the future, with a big emphasis on promoting digital literacy and the use of technology in teaching and learning. In 2010, the Children's Engineering Center was added in order to showcase – and teach with – cutting edge tech tools.
- Begun in 1863 as the Kansas State Normal School, Emporia State University Teachers College is, they claim, the only state institution that's been preparing teachers for nearly 150 years. About 20 years ago, Emporia launched an internship program that gives its student teachers real teaching jobs in a local "professional development" school for a full year – with plenty of faculty support, of course. The success of this amount of field work drew attention from the U.S. Department of Education: they just produced a video about the school's approach.
What other innovative teaching programs have you heard about? Please add to our list in the comments below.