As the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed the world of education, faculty and staff across the College of Education (COE) jumped into action not only to adapt how they prepare future educators, but also to provide current educators relevant knowledge and tools to be successful in their “new” classrooms. This past fall, COE provided multiple virtual professional development opportunities to our students, alumni, and educator friends across the country.

This spring, the COE is excited to continue to offer a variety of virtual professional development webinars and online resources. Each session is free and has professional development credit available.

“Our mission is to prepare the highest quality teachers for Illinois and I’m proud of the work that our faculty and staff have done and continue to do for current and future teachers in this ever-changing world of education,” said Dr. James Wolfinger, Dean of the College of Education. “Illinois State will continue to support educators throughout the pandemic and beyond as we all work to provide the best education for our students.”

Redbird Educator Series

The Redbird Educator Series, launched in the fall by The Mary and Jean Borg Center for Reading and Literacy, hosted three virtual professional development sessions. There are three webinars scheduled for the spring for educators. In addition, recordings from the fall series are posted as a resource.

Dr. Shamaine Bertrand, assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, will present on teaching in the times of COVID-19, racial injustice and inequities. Join Bertrand on January 28 at 4pm for this critical conversation as she shares insights on how to support students who are experiencing trauma caused by the pandemic and racial trauma.

Dr. Kate Peeples, assistant professor in the Department of Special Education, will present on using explicit vocabulary instruction to support all learners on February 25 at 4pm. Peeples will address how educators can successfully teach vocabulary learning across all content areas for children of all abilities.

Dr. Erin Quast, assistant professor in the School of Teaching and Learning, will focus on literacy approaches that invite students into disciplinary thinking while honoring their cultural and social identities. Quast will push attendees to move towards engaging and relevant disciplinary literacy on April 21 at 4pm.

“This past fall the Redbird Educator Series engaged educators across all grade levels, content areas, and years of experience,” said Dr. Deborah MacPhee, director of the Borg Center. “I’m proud of the work of our faculty who lead these sessions and of our participants who engaged in meaningful conversations in a time when their students need them the most. I look forward to how we will continue to expand our learning this spring.”

Register for the Redbird Educator Series today!

Connecting the DOTS

The Connecting the DOTS website and webinar series was created to support educators and families in navigating the changing terrain of remote and hybrid learning during COVID-19. In a rapid response, faculty from across the COE curated resources and organized live webinars for a series titled Ten Considerations for Hybrid and Remote Instruction. This series is led by Dr. Anna Smith, assistant professor, and Dr. Robyn Seglem, professor, both in the School of Teaching and Learning (TCH).

“The live sessions featured over 50 teachers, administrators, and College of Education faculty working together to lead right-on-time conversations about navigating the pandemic’s changing educational, social, and political landscape and to move us toward more just and equitable learning,” said Dr. Smith.

In the fall, over 900 teachers, parents, administrators, and preservice teachers registered and joined the live sessions on a variety of topics including learning at home, teaching anti-racist pedagogy, accessible learning and so much more.

“As a profession, teachers often feel disconnected from other adults, and I think that’s why so many teachers have expressed their appreciation for these sessions—they don’t feel alone,” said Dr. Seglem. “They see that others are struggling in the same ways, and they are finding ways to move forward together.”

The fall session recordings will be posted on the website by the end of January 2021 as a free resource. In addition, there will also be a new video series, Pedagogy First, that reviews a range of online apps and digital tools in light of pedagogical goals. These were created by K-12 and preservice teachers and will be available as a resource for teachers on the website. Ongoing teacher-led programming is being developed for the spring as well. If you have any ideas for future topics, please submit them via the website as the college continues to make the series relevant for current times.

Check out Connecting the DOTS resources today!

This program is generously supported by the English Family Fund.