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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Teacher Prep

Teacher Prep

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Do you have a "new" online teacher induction/training? What are the major areas of concern for teachers transitioning to teaching online? Thanks, Andy

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Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Andrew,
Your questions raise some really interesting points. From my own experience, I often find that teachers (both in schools and higher ed) have grave concerns about losing the face to face time. For this reason, I often recommend a blended approach to learning, including asynchronous and synchronous learning opportunities - if it must be done completely online, you can still use Skype and other similar programs to keep the face to face aspect of it. Regular communication is vital, as well.

This leads to the other concern: skills. I'm currently advocating self testing for teachers so they can identify their own areas for development in regards to online learning. Here is a link to such an exemplar test, from the UK:

Brad Rathgeber's picture
Brad Rathgeber
Director of Online School for Girls


Good question about on-boarding "new" online teachers. In my experience working to transition teachers from face-to-face to online instruction, teachers make two common mistakes:

1) They get overwhelmed by the technology
2) They try to directly transfer pedagogical techniques from face-to-face to online learning environments

We try to combat these common problems through two four-week profesional development courses. The first one helps the teachers transition to online courses by focusing on what they know, the mission and purpose of the school, and then showing them how the mission and purpose tie to technologies used at the school. By starting with what they know, they become more comfortable in the medium.

The second course (a one that we also offer to the public: http://www.onlineschoolforgirls.org/course/how-to-teach-an-online-course) focuses on the second issue by helping teachers understand pedagogical approaches for teaching online. Teachers explore the advantages and disadvantages that online course instructors have over face-to-face teachers and then move to adapt their teaching to make use of the advantages.

Hope this helps.

- Brad

Keith Heggart's picture
Keith Heggart
High School Teacher from Sydney, Australia

Hi Brad,
Thanks for sharing these resources. Personally, I find it astounding just how quickly the online sector for education has expanded. Is there any chance you could share a little bit more about the precise way that pedagogical techniques of teachers need to change? I'd certainly be interested in hearing your thoughts.

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