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Are Virtual Mentors the Next Step in Teacher Training?

Are Virtual Mentors the Next Step in Teacher Training?

It’s not new news that new teachers are more likely to stay in the field if they have an experienced mentor to guide them.

That’s why startup EdConnective and similar concepts are using the benefits of new technology to provide new teachers with virtual coaching to navigate the first years of teaching and seasoned teachers to continue learning good practices.

"EdConnective is among a handful of startups and education nonprofits offering virtual coaching, both to new teachers struggling to control their classrooms and to experienced teachers hoping to boost critical thinking and engagement,” says Slate Magazine.

"Virtual coaching’s backers promise teachers a sustained high dose of feedback, personalized action plans for their classrooms, and follow-up during implementation—three vital features missing from most professional development, according to a parade of recent reports.”

Founded in 2013, EdConnective is just one of many new startups that are capitalizing on the usefulness of virtual coaching.

The New Teacher Project, a non-proft that also started offering virtual coaching in 2013, has a long-history of offering in-school support services.

But rather than always needing to send a large team of people to lend support, TNTP senior strategist Karla Oakley told Slate Magazine virtual coaching provides that same level of feedback without the clumsiness of lots of bodies.

"TNTP virtual coaches use BloomBoard, an application that lets them insert time-stamped comments and questions alongside teacher videos. Teachers can view, sort, and respond to these comments, which include thumbnail links to the corresponding video clips,” Slate Magazine says.

While several studies testing the effectiveness of virtual coaching are underway, there is little conclusive data available yet.

Either way- the desire to improve on learning for both new and old teachers is there, and virtual mentorship is one of the most accessible options currently available.

Read the full story.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

2/18/2016

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