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K-State Today

January 18, 2018

College of Education faculty members present at Harvard

By Patrice L. Scott

Jill Wood and David S. Allen are interviewed at Harvard.

Two College of Education faculty members were invited to present about K-State's digitally mediated field-based supervision program at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. The purpose of the convening was to bring together experts in the field of using video as a tool for mentoring pre-service and in-service teachers.

David S. Allen, associate professor of curriculum and instruction and director of field placements, and Jill Wood, block C instructor/coordinator in the department of curriculum and instruction, co-presented at the working group on video use in teacher development at Harvard's Center for Educational Policy Research. The title of their presentation was "Elements of Feedback."

"We learned a great deal about the way other institutions crafted their programs, and we learned that no one in attendance had a group as large — we have 600 students who use SWIVL robots and iPads — in terms of a comprehensive program," Allen said. "They were impressed with our level of success utilizing this system with so many students."

The presentation was divided into three main topics: Engaging teachers and building ownership; leveraging processes and protocols; and developing coaching skill and knowledge. A timeline spanned the 2013-14 academic year when faculty researched the need for a distance supervision model to today when they have improved the efficiency of time-shifted feedback system and developed a 16-week module approach for a successful student internship.

According to Allen and Wood, two questions ultimately drove the construction of the college's virtual experience: How can we deploy our award-winning programs electronically; and how can we meet the needs of our constituents in every corner of Kansas and fulfill our land-grant mission?

Allen said the value to students is in the feedback, and Wood explained communication and feedback are the foundation for building relationships in an online environment. 

"Students, cooperating teachers, and university supervisors benefit from feeling connected, so that's why a successful distance supervision program must include planned, purposeful conversation," Wood said. "The research indicates on-going, consistent dialogue over long periods of time yields the best outcomes."

Allen and Wood recently shared the insights they discovered at the convening with their curriculum and instruction colleagues, and hope to enact practices that will further enhance K-State's program.

"Our ultimate goal is to produce teachers who are confident going into their first teaching positions because they have received the coaching they need in their practicum and internship experiences at K-State," Wood said. "This will eventually lead to better teacher retention, which is a concern across the nation, especially in Kansas. By continually improving our approach to supervision, we hope to create within our students a growth mindset that they will carry with them throughout their careers."

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