For years, teacher education has grappled with an odd truth: Some of our best-trained teachers depend on instruction that keeps them out of student classrooms until after they graduate.

This lack of on-the-job training can have serious practical consequences, especially in highly urbanized areas, or areas struggling with under-resourced schools. Just getting “a cellphone out of a kid’s hand” in many ways has more impact than the nuances of test design, The New York Times reported.

This lack of real-world training would be unacceptable in many other professions — not many people would be comfortable if they boarded a bus, and the driver turned to them and said, “This is my first time at this, but don’t worry, I read the book.”

In December, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which affords flexibility for local education agencies to better serve students with alternative models and approaches. One model would establish teacher residencies to get arguably the most important people in education — teachers — into K-12 classrooms well in advance of their first solo day on the job.

In turn, this effort presents a host of additional challenges: How can we place resident teachers into classrooms, and at the same time provide them with the ongoing and responsive support, mentoring and training specific to their situation that will be critical to their success?

This problem is rooted in delivering customized information, economically and on a scalable basis, across multiple locations.

Here are five reasons EdTech can solve the challenges of teacher residencies:

  1. Location: The most challenging student classroom environments are rarely, if ever, in the same building as the best teacher education programs. EdTech platforms can get the programs into every classroom that needs them.
  2. Scale: EdTech platforms not only move the programs into the classrooms where they’re needed, they also can scale to move into as many classrooms as necessary.
  3. Data: How much time is spent lecturing vs. answering questions? How much did students absorb from a given segment? Is comprehension increasing over time, or in response to a specific methodology? EdTech platforms collect data and provide for its analysis, helping answer all these questions.
  4. Support: Attrition rates are unacceptably high in resource-challenged schools, with a majority of teachers citing a lack of support. EdTech brings teacher preparation into classrooms, but it also brings the classroom situation back to the instructors. Seeing, hearing, and understanding individual environments allows for a vastly more sophisticated ability to support teachers.
  5. Degrees: Historically, a teaching residency program meant more time outside of a university classroom, delaying obtaining a graduate degree. With EdTech, students are able to obtain an accredited, nonprofit master’s degree while gaining hands-on teaching experience.

Need an example of this amazing union? Look no further than the partnership forged between NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, one of the oldest and highly regarded schools of education in the country, and HotChalk. Our advanced platform will pair Steinhardt’s academic modules and dedicated NYU faculty with the resident teacher in urban classrooms, providing for an immersive experience that responds directly to their particular classroom situation.

Residencies make sense, but only to the degree we can properly support the teacher in the classroom. The good news: We can.

Learn More: Click to view related resources.