Masters, Y., Gregory, S., & Grono, S. (2015). PST Online: Meeting the need for teaching innovation for virtual schools. International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 14, 2, pp. 1 – 16.
Virtual schools are no longer a pipedream: they are already with us. Pre-service teachers need to be prepared for this alternate teaching medium. Unlike blended learning in the classroom, new virtual schools have no need for physical classrooms, and students can be geographically distant from both each other and the teacher. This change in education delivery in schools will necessitate a new approach to curriculum design accompanied by a reshaping of discipline-based courses in higher education institutions in regard to teacher education. Exclusively online teaching changes the teacher/student dynamics and new skills, techniques and strategies should be developed. While there has been some online teaching for many years, initial teacher education has not prepared students for this new way of teaching. In this article the authors present the conceptual underpinning of the need for changes in teacher education and the perceptions of pre-service teachers in terms of their preparedness for virtual teaching. The data from a survey conducted with these pre-service teachers will inform the development of online resources that are part of a funded, ongoing project.