The University of Wyoming College of Education’s use of technology in preparing future teachers is gaining national attention.
Charles Ksir, College of Education dean, and assistant professor Guy Westhoff showcased the university’s program at the National Conference on Teacher Quality in Washington, D.C., Jan. 10-11.
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, the conference brought together teams of education leaders from around the country to create plans for teacher education in their communities.
Wyoming’s use of technology was driven largely by necessity, Ksir said. College of Education majors benefit from early experiences in an actual classroom setting, but the long distances between Wyoming’s communities make providing such exposure difficult, he said.
In the early 1990s, College of Education administrators and faculty introduced compressed video to the teaching process. With support from a U.S. West Foundation grant, the University of Wyoming set up a statewide network of wired classrooms for faculty to deliver classes to teachers in the field. Forty-five of the state’s public schools were involved.
The university’s teacher preparation program has expanded the use of that technology into the educational process. For instance, it uses videotaped teaching sessions that allow students and their faculty to critique classroom performance.
Education students also learn how to use computer technology, including the internet, to enhance learning in K-12 classrooms.
Beginning this spring, university education majors will use PowerSchool, a student management software program being adopted by many Wyoming school districts.
College of Education students also are beginning to create electronic portfolios on CD-ROM for distribution to potential employers and others interested in their work. These portfolios include digitized photographs and other documents, plus digital video clips of the student teaching in an actual classroom, Ksir said.