PBS TeacherLine is launching "TECH570: Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching" to fulfill the need for highly effective virtual educators and to help districts prepare for a revolutionary transition in education: An increasing number of K-12 students across the country are taking advantage of online learning options. Thirty states have full-time online learning schools open to students from districts statewide, while 40 states offer state-run virtual schools, according to Keeping Pace with K-12 Online Learning. Researchers project that by 2014 more than 10 million students will be taking virtual courses.
The six-week course goes beyond simply teaching about the online tools for virtual teachers, but delves deeply into the critical knowledge, strategies, and techniques to support student achievement in an online learning environment while aligning to the standards from the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), and the NEA Guide to Online Teaching. Prospective virtual teachers are guided through the course by an exemplary course facilitator who models how to build community, strategies for working with virtual students, and assessment techniques. The course offers project-based online learning experiences, helping educators develop the practical skills, resources and materials required for effective virtual teaching for K-12 students.
According to education experts, skills required for online teaching are different from the skills used for face-to-face instruction in the classroom. Key differences include curriculum, social dynamics, assessment strategies, and technical challenges. "Fundamentals of Virtual K-12 Teaching" helps teachers bridge the gap from face-to-face instruction to online instruction and sets them on a path for virtual teaching success.
TECH570 takes approximately 45 hours to complete, and costs $525. Teachers can earn PDPs, CEUs, or graduate credit from one of the more than 30 higher education institutions that have partnered with PBS TeacherLine. The course will first be available February 29, 2012.
Source: PBS TeacherLine, www.pbs.org/teacherline