Successful eLearning begins with well-prepared teachers

Preparing future teachers for success helps drive the success of the students they will teach

Gardner-Webb University began delivering its new online curriculum using Teachscape’s professional learning system in fall 2013.

When the state of North Carolina dramatically reduced textbook funding, yet decided it would implement the Common Core State Standards, our School of Education at Gardner-Webb University decided to fast-track a program to make all teacher preparation courses textbook-free.

We did this with the goal of preparing our students for the environment they would experience when they enter the teaching field, as well as to better equip them to meet the digital expectations that will be asked of them once they graduate.

In addition to going textbook-free, we also wanted to find a way to better capture student data in order to track student progress and focus on accreditation and continuous improvement.

To address the needs of this two-pronged initiative, we chose Teachscape’s online, video-based tools, because they would allow our student teachers to access courses online, view best practices of teaching in action, and reflect on their own teaching—all of which are essential in preparing future teachers for success in the field.

These tools additionally would provide our college’s professors with more opportunities to review students’ teaching and target their instruction accordingly, and they would allow our college’s administration to evaluate the teacher preparation program as a whole based on student data collected.

We began to deliver our new online curriculum using Teachscape’s professional learning system in the Fall 2013 semester. The curriculum, which integrates research-based courses from Teachscape, helps teachers reinforce key concepts being taught in class. Teachers use the system to deliver the courses, track and monitor student learning progress, and provide targeted instruction as needed.

We are now also heavily using iPads with our students. In addition to being able to use the devices to access the online curriculum, students use iPads to capture video of their own teaching. After being uploaded to Teachscape’s system, students view and reflect on actual footage of their student-taught micro lessons in the classroom setting. They use the videos to collaborate with peers on instructional best practices and share the videos with their professors to receive meaningful feedback.

(Next page: How students and professors have responded)

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