NCTAF is working with seven university partners across the country to make educator development more collaborative and to give new teachers a stronger start in the profession. NCTAF’s Teachers Learning in Networked Communities (TLINC®) changes the story for teachers who are trying to meet multiple new challenges, such as determining the learning needs of increasingly diverse students, preparing for high-stakes testing, and honing their classroom management style.
Face-to-face and online professional learning communities encourage student teachers, mentor teachers, and faculty to reflect on their practice, share goals, progress, challenges, and lessons learned. Learning communities tap into teachers’ desire for professional development targeted to their specific strengths, weaknesses, and school contexts.
TLINC’s goals are to:
- Encourage collaboration in teacher preparation by bringing student teachers, mentor teachers, and university faculty together in a meaningful way.
- Improve connections between teacher preparation programs and the districts they serve by analyzing “problems of practice” in online or face-to-face collaboration.
- Create feedback loops that connect graduates with their teacher preparation programs.
TLINC has recently “gone mobile” on five campuses thanks to funding from Wireless Reach from Qualcomm. Cohorts of student teachers now have 24/7 access to their online networks through tablets and smartphones donated to the project by HTC. This aspect of the TLINC work will tell us how mobile devices extend collaboration and how advanced wireless technologies can be used to conduct virtual observations and real-time on-the-spot coaching.
TLINC implementation sites: Georgia State University, University of Central Oklahoma, University of Colorado at Denver, University of New Mexico, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, University of Texas at El Paso, and University of Missouri St. Louis.
TLINC’s online communities are on edWeb.net, a free social networking platform especially designed for educators.