All across the world, educational systems are exploring new ways to encourage more ambitious teaching and learning in classrooms: shifting away from recitation and rote learning to more engaging forms of collaborative, active, problem-centered learning. For this shift in classrooms to occur, we need to dramatically increase the quantity and quality of learning opportunities available to educators in these systems, and new forms of blended and online learning experiences will be central to this growth. One crucial element in teacher learning is practice. For most teachers, opportunities for low-stakes, deliberate practice is quite limited–teachers either learn theory in graduate school of education seminar rooms or test ideas in real classrooms, with real students, with real and immediate learning needs. At the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, we are developing new forms of teacher practice spaces, technology platforms inspired by games and simulations that provide the opportunity for teachers to rehearse for and reflect on important decisions in teaching.
Justin Reich is the director of the MIT Teaching Systems Lab, an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Media Studies/Writing department, and a Faculty Associate of the Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society. As a learning scientist, he investigates the complex, technology-rich classrooms of the future and the systems we need to prepare educators to thrive in those environments.