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Science education program named 'promising practice' by Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

The University's science teacher education program has been selected as a "pilot of promising practices" by the Science & Mathematics Teacher Imperative (SMTI) of the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. One of five programs selected from nominees across the country, the U of M's Science Teacher Induction Network (TIN) has been in practice through the Department of Curriculum and Instruction for seven years, according to Gillian Roehrig, associate professor and co-director of the STEM Education Center.

TIN is an online mentoring program for teaching licensure candidates from the University in secondary school science and mathematics. TIN incorporates reflective journals, topical discussion threads, and professional development inquiries that provide a space for first- and second-year teachers to continue to develop their pedagogical content knowledge and conversation with mentors and peers to promote reform-based classroom practices.

Developers of online mentoring programs have used lesson plans, discussion posts, and journal entries as a proxy for direct observations of classroom practice. Recent developments in video annotation methods and tools make the use of video for examining and improving reflective practices increasingly viable within online environments.

Through the strategic development and use of video annotation tools within TIN, beginning teachers' reflections on their classroom teaching are linked directly to evidence through video as documentation. The integration of VideoAnt into TIN represents a promising practice that promotes the development of reflective practitioners and provides a free and user-friendly online platform for sharing and providing feedback on classroom teaching.

Roehrig says that Joel Donna (learning technologies), Barbara Billington (STEM Ed Center), and Mary Hoelscher (STEM Ed graduate student) have all been critical co-developers at various stages and iterations of TIN.

SMTI is a national effort to assist public universities to increase the number and improve the quality and diversity of science and mathematics teachers they prepare. SMTI's 131 institutions and 13 systems in 44 states prepare more than 8,200 students each year as middle and high school science and mathematics teachers.

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