Teacher Education

How Technology Helps Solve the Teacher Shortage in Rural Areas

How Technology Helps Solve the Teacher Shortage in Rural Areas

Often the teacher shortage is felt most acutely in rural areas. So how can your teacher education program support the needs in neighboring rural areas?

How can technology help teacher education programs solve the teacher shortage in rural areas? Share on X

As East Carolina University’s College of Education (COE) learned, you can’t underestimate the difference of leveraging the right technology.

Download your copy of the case study.  

The Challenges

East Carolina University’s COE sets a high standard for addressing the teacher shortage in rural areas. That’s because in North Carolina alone, over 10,000 new teachers will be needed each year through 2020. And the College of Education? Well, they do their part as one of the top producers of education professionals for their state.

They impressively orchestrate over 2,500 practicum placements every year and offer 25 fully online programs. With all those placements and online students, COE covers a lot of rural areas.

Associate professor Dr. Christina Tschida explains:

“When we talk about eastern North Carolina, it’s a very rural, low-income area. We place student teachers across the area as well as other districts across the state. It’s not uncommon for our students to be in the mountains of North Carolina, which is five hours away.”

The Video Observation Solution

When you have 20 to 25 students in your practicum course, or online students living in the mountains of North Carolina, technology is key. That’s why Dr. Tschida began searching for the right video observation platform to give her students feedback.

Along with the help of Dr. Holly Fales, Director of Assessment, Data Management, and Digital Learning, Dr. Tschida tested several digital video observation solutions. But each proved cumbersome. Dr. Fales recounts that her office was “fielding a lot of questions about issues uploading video. By the time the technical questions were answered, the faculty member didn’t even get to see the video.”

Then Dr. Tshida found GoReact.

The GoReact Solution

Here’s how GoReact helps the College of Education address the teacher shortage and other challenges in their college.

Easy to Use

GoReact removes ECU’s former difficulties uploading videos. The software automatically compresses video, it’s compatible with almost a dozen video file types, and it’s prepared to work with spotty campus wifi. Dr. Tshida says, “I’ve never had a student say, ‘I couldn’t get my video to go up on GoReact.’”

Reaches Remote Areas

GoReact allows instructors to observe candidates in rural and remote areas of North Carolina, minimizing the heavy burden of travel on supervisors and faculty. And as Dr. Fales points out, this also helps COE “place more candidates and serve [their] growing distance education programs.” 

But GoReact does more than connect students and professors. What makes GoReact unique and so successful for students online or in a blended curriculum is how it improves video observation feedback and student reflections.

Improved Feedback

Students and instructors give time-coded feedback and place markers directly in the video. In an article in the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, Dr. Tshida reports that 88% of the student teachers using GoReact found their video feedback useful.

88% of the student teachers using GoReact found their video feedback useful. —Stapleton, Tschida. “Partnering Principal and Teacher Candidates: Exploring a Virtual Coaching Mode in Teacher Education” Share on X

Improved Self-Reflection

Instead of relying on memory, students develop evidence-based reflection skills. Subsequently, in another publication Dr. Tschida found that 78% of students ranked their reflection assignment using GoReact as extremely or very important to developing skills.

When Dr. Tschida shared her findings, it immediately convinced higher-ups to extend GoReact to more faculty. Today, GoReact has spread by word of mouth through the entire College of Education at East Carolina University. The list of users grows each semester.

To learn more about how technology solutions can help solve the teacher shortage in rural areas, read Dr. Tschida’s findings.

If you’re interested in how technology can improve teacher education, read how GoReact solves other problems in more GoReact case studies.