An innovative online approach to preparing teachers for the classroom is being launched at New York University.
The New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development has announced plans to create a residency-based graduate education program for teachers that will combine online coursework with onsite experiences at schools, according to an online post by NYU Steinhardt.
Teachers in the program will work at high-needs public schools and be guided by experts at NYU Steinhardt through the online program.
There are only a few residency options for aspiring teachers, but NYU Steinhardt believes in the teaching method and came to an online model after rethinking its approach, according to Joe McDonald, a professor of teaching and learning at the school.
"Using 21st-century tools, they’ll draw on NYU content expertise every day for this one-year program," McDonald said during a presentation in December 2015. “For NYU teacher education, this is the next step in a long history of innovation.”
McDonald said school leaders reimagined how they could prepare secondary teachers by using technology from HotChalk, a Silicon Valley company, that allows for one-on-one observation and support for a student's education across geographies and time zones.
"The potential of the Internet is not just about scale. It’s also about intimacy,” said Joe Ross, HotChalk's chief strategy officer.
Ross referenced the average one-to-15,000 teacher-to-student ratio in massive open online courses (MOOCs), comparing it to HotChalk’s idea of a classroom, which is one teacher for every 15 students.
Educational institutions are still tapping the potential of online learning, Ross said, but one component will play a crucial role in the execution of NYU Steinhardt's program: data. The goal is to use data gained from these class sessions to improve teaching and learning, said Ross.
“Class after class, and semester after semester, we can engage in a relentless pursuit of the continuous improvement of the quality of teaching,” Ross said.