T.H.E. Journal, September 1998, p. 69
A new videoconferencing program at Kentucky State University has given preservice teachers a remote look at how master teachers instruct at a local K-4 magnet school 25 miles away. In addition, student educators have the opportunity to remotely teach those classes themselves in the semester-long program.
The project’s goal was to allow preservice teachers first to observe elementary school classrooms and then teach those classes through videoconferencing technology provided by Kentucky’s TeleLinking Network.
For the first six weeks of the program, preservice teachers at the university campus watched the elementary school teachers’ reading lessons. During the final 10 weeks, preservice teachers had to develop their own lessons, which they would teach to the elementary school students via videoconference.
A review of the program afterward made these four observations:
- The program was an effective way to introduce teachers to technology and specifically to the hardware, software, and instructional skills needed to use videoconferencing effectively.
- Not only did preservice teachers receive valuable exposure to actual classroom instruction, but existing teachers at the elementary school learned some lessons from the students, such as the need to adjust instructional techniques to maximize the effectiveness of technology.
- Preservice and in-service teachers alike were at first skeptical of the program, but afterward saw value in the videoconferencing technique.
- For future efforts, the elementary students will get more exposure to the university students to build a more extended teaching relationship. Also, an educator will remain on-site in the elementary school classroom when a remote preservice teacher gives a lesson.