BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The state of Indiana has awarded Indiana University more than $2.7 million in grants from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund to improve remote learning for K-12 schools. The three funded projects will support Indiana teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic through the creation and curation of course materials, as well as additional training:
The multicampus project led by Mike Beam, IU's senior assistant vice provost for undergraduate education and assistant vice president for school partnerships, received a $1.25 million grant. It draws heavily on collaboration with the Office of Online Education, IU's Schools of Education, University eDesign Services and IU High School. The project includes four components that will roll out in phases, starting with curating and assessing virtual content available to K-12 educators.
Faculty from across IU's campuses will work in tandem with teachers throughout the state to identify how online resources align with schools' needs. Beam's team will also create a repository of complete courses for remote learning that will be available in their fully developed form for the 2021-22 school year.
"Our objective really is to increase resiliency and increase capacity around remote learning and supporting students and teachers," Beam said. "Teachers are absolute experts, and they have all the right skills. It's just that most folks haven't had a supported way of applying those skills in a remote-learning structure."
The final phases of the project involve creating professional development modules for educators and launching a Virtual Educator License pilot program.
IU East will use its $304,000 grant to provide free tuition toward a graduate certificate in online instruction and assessment. The certificate has been offered since 2012, but interest has increased as a result of the pandemic.
The opportunity will be available to 62 teachers who are part of the East Central Indiana Educational Service Center. The virtual program will start in October, and courses will be co-taught by IU East faculty and K-12 educators in the region.
"A common mistake is to just give teachers a lot of technology and then say 'Go, do great things with that technology,'" said Jerry Wilde, dean of the IU East School of Education. "But often, schools do not provide training on implementation."
Jamie Buffington-Adams, associate dean of education and associate professor at IU East, and Katie Lash, executive director of the East Central Educational Service Center, are also collaborating on the project.
With its $1.18 million in grant funding, IUPUI will create a digital remote education hub, with a focus on equity and inclusion. The online resource will provide tutorials, learning modules, webinars and model lesson plans for families and educators.
Jeremy Price, assistant professor of technology, innovation and pedagogy in urban education, said the pandemic is highlighting the important role families play in learning.
"Teachers provide the work, but the parents have been expected to help their children work through it," Price said. "Part of our mission is to help families do that, but also to help the educators learn to partner with families and communities for the benefit of the students, particularly during these times in which educational inequalities are magnified."
The online resources will be offered for free through a central website, and the learning modules will be administered through IU Expand. Teachers will be able to earn required Professional Growth Plan points by completing the modules, as well as follow an optional pathway for earning graduate credit.
The materials will also be incorporated into the Urban Teacher Education Program at the School of Education at IUPUI to help prepare the next generation of teachers as well as into a certificate program for current practicing educators.