Monday, April 05, 2010

SITE 2010

I've just returned from the SITE 2010 Conference in San Diego. I found it somewhat disconcerting that the opening keynote was talking about her recent arrival to teaching online. It reminded me that a colleague and I did a presentation that covered the issues of preparing to teach online and about the importance of School of Education faculty teaching online at a SITE conference at least 10 years ago. Of course we weren't doing a keynote.

I asked the 60+ folks who were at my session how many were teaching online and got about half the audience to indicate they were doing so, but when I asked how many were preparing their pre-service teachers to teach online only a handful responded.

Virtual Schools have been around now for 15 years and it's not a passing fancy. But it seems based on a very informal survey that Schools of Education are behind the times. This is something I've been asking them to do for the past 15 years. Obviously, I'm not getting through.

I'm not the only one. Iowa State had a FIPSE grant, TEGiVS (that I consulted on) that ran from 2005 - 2007 and they developed modules to incorporate virtual education content into teacher preparation programs. Those modules have been available for Ed Schools to use. Iowa State presented at SITE as part of the project's dissemination efforts. I guess they weren't heard either.

And also this year at SITE I was part of a pre-conference workshop raising the issue of Ed Schools now incorporating engineering education into their pre-service preparation of K-12 teachers.

I've been clear in my position that our education system needs to be redesigned. I don't think the nation's Ed Schools can be seriously redesigned until we've got our new K-12 model, but I do believe Ed Schools can make the adjustments to reflect the current realities happening in K-12. But, as Bruce Droste used to say, "changing schools of education is like pounding cement."

There are individual School of Education faculty who are introducing their pre-service teachers to the latest in education, but we need to get the programs to reflect that thinking, we can't depend on all the faculty to do that. Just look at how many of them are preparing their students to be online teachers.