Special Report
Classroom Technology

Ed. Groups Outline E-Teacher Quality Guidelines

By Michelle R. Davis — September 20, 2010 3 min read

Both the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, or iNACOL, based in Vienna, Va., and the Southern Regional Education Board, or SREB, in Atlanta, have published compatible guides for national standards and professional development of online teachers. Those guidelines are often cited when policymakers and experts talk about how to establish such principles.

“We use iNACOL’s standards to review [online teachers’] professional development and make sure it reinforces a high level of online teaching,” said Barbara B. Smith, the project director of the Texas Virtual School Network, which vets online courses used in the state. “We’re finding many of the state virtual schools are standardizing around them.”

E-Learning 2010:
E-Educators Evolving

Overview: About This Report
States Eye Standards for Virtual Educators
Ed. Groups Outline E-Teacher Quality Guidelines
Teachers Make the Move to the Virtual World
Schools Blend Virtual and Face-to-Face Teaching
E-Educators Use Daily Mix of Digital Tools
Ed. Schools Lag Behind in Virtual Teacher Training
New Educators Look Back at Virtual-Teacher Prep.
Distinctive Demands Make Compensation Complicated
E-Evaluations: ‘Watching Your Every Move’
Web Extras
Webinar: Evaluating E-Educators’ Evolving Skills
Online Chat: Teaching in Two Worlds: Virtual And Face-to-Face
Digital Edition Read the interactive digital edition of E-Learning 2010: E-Educators Evolving.

The “National Standards for Quality Online Teaching” from iNACOL were first released in 2008 and were updated this year. They embraced the “Standards for Quality Online Teaching” published by the SREB and also reviewed other online-teaching guides such as the National Education Association’s “Guide to Teaching Online Courses” and the Ohio Department of Education’s “Ohio Standards for the Teaching Profession.”

The iNACOL standards recommend that online teachers meet the state standards required where their courses are taught, and that the teachers demonstrate technology skills, including the use of synchronous and asynchronous tools such as discussion boards, chat tools, and electronic whiteboards.

The ability to promote interaction between teachers and students, and among students, is also critical, the standards say.

Teachers should be able to demonstrate strategies to “encourage active learning, interaction, and participation and collaboration in the online environment.”

Online communication is also critical, according to the iNACOL standards, and a teacher must provide regular feedback, prompt responses, and clear expectations. The standards provide a checklist for the skills online teachers should have.

Necessary Skills

Susan D. Patrick, the president and chief executive officer of iNACOL, said that the appeal of her organization’s standards continues to grow, and that states, schools of education, accrediting agencies, and virtual schools are requesting permission to use them.

“The use of technology is critical, but the interaction and communication in an online classroom is critical as well,” she said.

The standards also point to an ability to do performance-based assessments as a necessary skill. Teachers must be able to implement and deliver online assessments that are both valid and reliable, but also complex enough to test student knowledge beyond a multiple-choice exam, for example.

In addition, the iNACOL standards recommend that virtual teachers experience “online learning from the perspective of a student,” meaning that they’ve taken online courses themselves. Often those courses come in the form of professional development.

The SREB guidelines, already in use in the organization’s 16 member states, say professional development for teachers operating in a virtual world should include formal and informal activities, online courses, role-playing activities, hands-on training with learning-management systems and other technology tools, and partnering with mentor teachers.

The SREB guidelines, which were released in 2009, provide advice to virtual school teachers on what they need to do to boost their skills, and to state virtual schools on what those organizations need to do to support and provide such professional development.

“If you’re going to have online programs which don’t have frequent face-to-face contact, you are going to need additional skills and standards,” said Myk Garn, the SREB’s director of educational technology. “To ensure teachers have that, you’re going to need professional development.”

A version of this article appeared in the September 22, 2010 edition of Education Week as Ed. Groups Outline Guidelines for Virtual-Teacher Quality

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Webinar
Here to Stay – Pandemic Lessons for EdTech in Future Development
What technology is needed in a post pandemic district? Learn how changes in education will impact development of new technologies.
Content provided by AWS
School & District Management Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Strategies & Tips for Complex Decision-Making
Schools are working through the most disruptive period in the history of modern education, facing a pandemic, economic problems, social justice issues, and rapid technological change all at once. But even after the pandemic ends,
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Education Funding Webinar
From Crisis to Opportunity: How Districts Rebuild to Improve Student Well-Being
K-12 leaders discuss the impact of federal funding, prioritizing holistic student support, and how technology can help.
Content provided by Salesforce.org

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Classroom Technology Sponsor
Simplify K-5 Learning with Digital Content—All in One Place
Children learn best when there are fewer barriers to learning. Gale In Context: Elementary, matches how young kids naturally navigate online
Content provided by Gale
Gale In Context: Elementary replicates the way curious kids naturally learn, simplifying the experience
Gale In Context: Elementary replicates the way curious kids naturally learn, simplifying the experience.
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center During COVID-19, Schools Have Made a Mad Dash to 1-to-1 Computing. What Happens Next?
Districts that purchased devices for hybrid and remote learning will have to determine how to use them for in-person instruction.
8 min read
A line of volunteers carries iPads to be delivered to parents at curbside pickup at Eastside Elementary on March 23, 2020, in Clinton, Miss. Educators are handing out the devices for remote learning while students are forced to stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.
A line of volunteers carries iPads to be delivered to parents at curbside pickup at Eastside Elementary a year ago in Clinton, Miss.<br/>
Julio Cortez/AP
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center Most Students Now Have Home Internet Access. But What About the Ones Who Don't?
Here's what school districts, states, and the federal government are doing to improve at-home access to devices and the internet.
8 min read
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advance placement World History Teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays a wifi hot spot that are being handed out to students in Dallas on April 9, 2020. Dallas I.S.D. is handing out the devices along with wifi hotspots to students in need so that they can connect online for their continued education amid the COVID-19 health crisis.
Sam Urban Wittrock, left, an advanced placement World History teacher at W.W. Samuell High School, displays one of the Wi-Fi hotspots that were handed out to students in Dallas in April of 2020. The Dallas school district gave the devices to students who needed them to do schoolwork at home during the pandemic.
Tony Gutierrez/AP
Classroom Technology From Our Research Center 'A Year of Tremendous Growth.' How the Pandemic Forced Teachers to Master Technology
Educators nationwide say their ability to use technology for instruction improved significantly during the pandemic.
6 min read
Fifth grade teacher April Whipp welcomes back her students virtually during the first day of school at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School on Aug.13, 2020 in Louisa County, Va.
Fifth grade teacher April Whipp welcomes back her students virtually in August during the first day of school at Moss-Nuckols Elementary School in Louisa County, Va.
Erin Edgerton/The Daily Progress via AP