Technology is allowing teacher education programs to take a page from the sports playbook. It is extending the role of the teacher education faculty from instructors and evaluators to coaches. A vital component of Teacher Education Programs is pre service teaching in public school classrooms. During this time the prospective teacher is under the joint supervision of a member of the college education department and the public school teacher whose class is being taught. While the students are doing their pre service teaching, they are on their own. They prepare the lesson plans and do the instruction. Traditionally, the public school teacher reviews and critiques the lesson plans and observes the teaching of the classes and offers advice. A few of these classes are also observed and later critiqued by a representative of the college teacher education program. The system has worked reasonably well, but it does leave the student teachers on their own during a vital part of the process, the actual teaching of the class.
On the other hand, consider athletes and their actions. Like the student teacher, they train for the event; they develop a ’game plan’ with their coaches and then participate in the event. The coach is on the sideline while the athletes are doing the actual execution of their skills. However, there is one major factor that is different, the coach is evaluating, making real time adjustments and, in many cases, improving the athletes’ effectiveness. In the case of NFL football the coach is actually communicating with the team’s quarterback about play selection and adjustments in strategy via a wireless head set and speaker in the player’s helmet. This type of technology is being adopted by education departments and is having, positive effects. Instead of giving only an after-the-fact critique the student teachers’ lessons, they are able to have a real time influence on the execution of lessons and, hopefully, a positive effect on the success of the lesson. The technology that they use is called “bug-in-the-ear”. The evaluator/coach has the wireless microphone and is located apart from the classroom students, giving occasional, immediate advice
Divonna Stebick, Assistant Professor of Education, is experimenting with this technology in her Education 340, Teaching Students with Diverse Needs, classes. During the semester students in the class must teach a full (hour long) lesson to their peers. Divonna observes the class from the a perspective where she can see both the student instructor and the students in the class (see adjacent photo). The student teacher wears an ear bud speaker attached to a receiver on their belt or in their pocket. Divonna has a wireless microphone attached to a transmitter she is wearing. She observes and, occasionally, during pauses offers suggestions, such as “move around the class more”, “give an illustration”, etc. She may also provide compliments when a point is well made. Her comments are made quietly and during pauses so that they do not interrupt the class or confuse the student teacher. However, her well placed advice may save a lesson from an impending disaster. The other effect is that the advice is in real time when it can make a much stronger impression than waiting until a critique after the class is over.
In addition to coaching as she observes the class, Divonna also types her observations, both favorable and unfavorable on her i-Pad. These will be used for her session with the student when she critiques the overall class. Thus, she has a written record as well as the in class private coaching to help her to develop stronger classroom teachers.
If you would like to learn more about the bug-in the air technologies, visit the educational leadership website.
Michael Hayden, Director of the I/C Department of IT, is pleased to announce that Tyler Swinn has become a member of the IT team in the position of General Network Analyst effective November 25, 2013. Prior to being appointed to his new position, Tyler has worked during the last five years as a casual employee in the I/C Department. His services in that capacity were noted in the November, 2013 issue of In Touch with IT. He was among the several candidates who applied for the current full time position when the opening was announced last October.
Tyler’s main responsibility, at the moment, is to work with the development of the forthcoming “Service Desk” app. In addition to working on this application, he is still helping telecommunications and other branches of I/C. However, these services are done on a much reduced basis from when he was working summers as a casual employee. Another important aspect of Tyler’s position is to explore opportunities for continued training and education in networking that are applicable to his future work with the network applications division of I/C.
IT is pleased that Tyler has joined its full-time employees and is sure that the campus will benefit greatly from his continued service. Please welcome him as a member of our community when you see him on campus.