Apprenticeships already play an important role in teacher preparation. Apprenticeships are powerful learning environments which decrease the problem of transferring skills and knowledge by acquiring these skills in the same environment in which they will later be used. The major drawback of apprenticeships is that they are expensive in terms of resources required, both for students and for the experts.
Recent advances in microcomputers and telecommunications have produced low-cost computer-based networks that can allow us to extend apprenticeship learning throughout the teacher preparation process. Through teleapprenticeships, it is possible to gain the advantages of contextualized learning at a much lower cost than that associated with conventional apprenticeships. Students in teacher education programs can, while they are still on college campuses, interact via electronic messages with teachers, student teachers, and students in K-12 schools.
As in conventional apprenticeships, students involved in Teaching Teleapprenticeships interact with individuals of many different levels of expertise. This model provides the participants with a broader set of experiences than are available with more traditonal approaches. A given student will play a variety of different roles in the Teaching Teleapprenticeships, as they progress through their teacher education curriculum.
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