Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Should virtual school teachers have special certification?

While exploring Virtual High School Meanderings I found an article from The Journal discussing the need for K12 online teaching endorsements. K-12 Teaching Endorsements: Are They Needed suggests that "skill sets acquired for teaching in face to face settings are not adequate preparation for online teaching or online course development" (Deubel, 2008). Experience required for the endorsement might include online professional development (this ensures that the teachers have experience learning in an online environment); understanding of legalities around copyright, intellectual property, accessibility, and privacy; and working knowledge of learning management systems and Web 2.0 tools. Georgia is one of four states that already have online teaching endorsements. I wonder if other states are considering this requirement.

Patricia Deubel. K-12 Online Teaching Endorsements: Are They Needed? The Journal. January 2008 : Retrieved March 19, 2008, from http://www.thejournal.com/articles/21804_4.


J-Lang said...


Considering the article you referenced and your own comments I would say that it's true that many traditional classroom teachers might not be ready to teach online courses without additional training, particularly if they aren't "tech-savvy". On the flip-side of that, however, I think there are teachers who can effectively teach online but aren't as suited for the classroom. Some teachers are great at working with technology and with students individually or in small groups, but in a classroom setting with little support and students who aren't motivated or are crowded 30-plus into a tiny room, they aren't nearly as skilled. For some this can be stressful, draining and distracting, regardless of how well the curriculum is designed or the quality their own instruction skills and course knowledge.
Hence, I think your question presents and interesting issue for exploration. Is there or will there be an emerging skill set and education for the teachers of the future? Will there be separate teacher training programs, one those for going to traditional classrooms and those who will be teaching in virtual schools? I mean think about it, the whole issue of classroom management and discipline really isn't a necessary consideration in virtual schools, at least not to a large degree. Very interesting.

Mark said...

By the way, thanks for those resources...

I didn't know Georgia had an online teaching endorsement. I do think it's important to acknowledge that, while many teaching skills transfer well, it is important to prepare teachers for working in online contexts. How interesting to require experience from the learner's perspective as well. I know my experience as an online student will inform my practice if I have the opportunity to teach online.