To make sure students graduate from high school prepared to tackle whatever path they choose, teacher preparation must focus on making today’s education system a learner-centered instructional model, supported by proven digital learning technology that gives students a more individualized and rigorous learning experience, said a panel of experts during an Alliance for Excellent Education webinar.

The webinar was based in part on “Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning,” a 2012 Alliance report that advocates for a shift in the teaching culture to ensure that students graduate from high school ready to enter college or the workforce. It also was the second in a two-part webinar series on this same topic.

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“Moving teacher education forward—what does that really mean? What it means to be in a digital age is that we are now in an open learning ecosystem,” said Tom Carroll, president of the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF). “Now school is no longer the [only] learning place—schools and classrooms are among many in a network of learning spaces.”

NCTAF’s Teachers Learning in Networked Communities (TLINC) initiative aims to close the gap between teacher preparation and practice by encouraging collaboration in teacher preparation programs, increasing communication between these programs and the school districts they serve, and creating “feedback loops” that link teacher preparation programs to graduates of those programs.

(Next page: How communication and data can help)