While our students are required to purchase their own iPads, they are actually saving money over the duration of their schooling because they no longer have to purchase textbooks. Plus, they are able to keep their iPad and use it when they enter the profession.
To date, the response to the technology has been very positive. In our technologically driven age, students are already extremely comfortable using the mobile devices and have been very open to the collective use of the online tools to enhance their learning experience.
Professors have also been more excited about this technology initiative than any other one recently implemented, because of the technology’s content, up-to-date videos, and ease of use. They are also excited about the technology’s ability to hone in on individual student data and facilitate student self-reflection.
For other higher-education institutions looking to implement similar initiatives, it is important to look for an all-inclusive program. We wanted a program that would allow us to provide students with meaningful and targeted feedback from their first time micro-teaching on, and support our collection of data based on this feedback to facilitate a cycle of continuous improvement.
Another important piece to consider is the affordability of such initiatives. When presenting this to our stakeholders, we made sure to emphasize the reductions in cost our students would realize. Lastly, institutions should consider ease of use. The technology chosen should be one that is fairly intuitive to most learners, both students and professors.
Overall, we see a lot of promise in the way online, video-based technologies can be used in the clinical pre-service setting, as well as in the K-12 setting, to improve teacher effectiveness and support collaborative, reflective, and ongoing professional growth. By effectively preparing our student teachers for success, we are ultimately helping to drive the success of the students they will one day teach.
Dr. Kelly Taylor is Chair of Middle Grades Education at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. She teaches initial and advanced candidates in the curriculum and instruction, middle, and executive school leadership programs.