Martindale to Present at SITE 2009

February 25, 2009

Memphis TLINC Project Director, Dr. Trey Martindale, is traveling to the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education annual conference. This year’s conference will be held March 2 through 6 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dr. Martindale will join NCTAF’s Hanna Doerr to present Teachers Learning In Networked Communities: Online Teacher Induction, Support, and Collaboration.

For more information about the conference, please visit:


NCTAF Newsletter Feature

February 17, 2009

Opinion: Changing Education

-Chicago Tribune; February 2, 2009

It seemed so right. Leslie Lewin, who since 6th grade had a passion to teach, was confident she could instruct and inspire her middle school charges. After all, she would be working in the very building that hosted her affirming experience as a student teacher. But a year later Lewin was doing math in a bank, not a classroom. From Day 1, she groped for a comfort level. She felt overwhelmed, even panicky, as she struggled with discipline problems and other issues. The woman who had been an awesome role model and tutor during her student-teaching semester offered advice. So did Lewin’s mother, a former teacher and Carbondale school superintendent. But it was not enough, not like having them there, regularly watching her in action. The passion fizzled, the panic prevailed and Lewin became part of a dropout rate that has stirred significant action in Illinois after long neglect. Studies by the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future indicate nearly half of new teachers depart within five years. “In a vicious cycle, teacher turnover lowers student achievement, and lower student achievement leads to teacher turnover,” the commission concluded.

We lose young men and women who choose the profession knowing they likely will not drive BMWs. They expect fulfillment to trump frustration and successes to salve setbacks. Education experts are convinced a substantial majority exit because of scant support. We squander this human capital. We devalue our investment in undergraduate education by shortchanging professional development. Without proper preparation, we too often place them in classrooms with students from neighborhoods and households unlike those in which they were reared—damaging both teachers and students. Illinois clearly lacks a comprehensive approach. Among major elements, education experts say, there should be: Teacher mentoring programs that embody the best practices and are assessed for effectiveness; Sufficient time during the school day for the veteran and the newcomer to interact; Buy-in from principals, other school administrators and school boards based on studies that indicate well-executed mentoring enhances faculty stability, boosts student reading scores and costs less than turnover.

To view the full article, click here.

TLINC Developer Kathleen Fulton featured in …On The Tapis

February 3, 2009

Member Perspective: Kathleen Fulton

Kathleen is Director, Reinventing Schools for the 21st Century, for the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future (NCTAF).  She was the developer of the Teachers Learning in Networked Communities (TLINC) project, funded initially by the AT&T Foundation, then Microsoft, and now supported by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education in the U.S. Department of Education.

Kathleen’s Perspective
We developed TLINC as a way for teachers, especially teacher candidates and those new to the profession, to stay connected with their professional peers and colleagues.  Our data had shown that too many teachers leave in the first five years of teaching (up to 46% nationally, with even greater turnover in high need schools and districts).  We knew that mentoring support for new teachers is variable; too many new teachers, including candidates doing student teaching, feel “lost at sea” when they enter the classroom.  We knew that online communities can make it possible for our newest educators to connect with those they most trust professionally. We also hoped that if we built online communities during preservice education, and used TLINC to help build the links between teacher preparation institutions and their local districts, we could create opportunities for online collaboration and community that would become a “habit” among educators as a vehicle for professional learni!
ng and support and build their comfort with using technology.

Our partners (University of Memphis, University of Colorado at Denver, and University of Washington) explored a number of potential platforms for the project.  Fortunately, Mark Schlager, Tapped In’s “godfather”, was on our design team, and when the partners chose Tapped In, we had a strong advocate.  We were able to “lease” a building on Tapped In and have now over 900 members in our TLINC community.

Read the rest of Kathleen’s Perspective online at