The Center for Technology in Education (CTE) and faculty from the Department of Elementary Education have developed a new initiative called IDEA: Immersive Digital Educator Apprenticeships. IDEA is an organizational framework to support students’ on-going, real-world experiences with technology innovation in university, school, and community contexts. IDEA is a set of extra-curricular opportunities, incentives, and supports consisting of:
  • An interactive database of prospective technology projects proposed by participating students, faculty, schools, community agencies, and partners.
  • A project selection and management process to assure that client expectations are served in concert with apprentice readiness and goals.
  • A network of university, school, community, and vendors that provide sustainability opportunities, resources, and oversight.
  • A studio supported by a central entity (the CTE), in which the apprentices work and learn together over time in support of IDEA projects and related courses.
  • A showcase portfolio framework to provide students with a documentation of their achievements in IDEA at the end of their academic program.

IDEA is a student-centered initiative based on five constructs:
  1. Schools and communities are replete with needs and opportunities for which the immersive learning pedagogy, a pillar of teacher education and Ball State University, is ideal.
  2. Future teachers need more opportunities and contexts to develop the core professional competencies required of modern technology rich schools.
  3. The longitudinal nature of learning and leading with technology requires progressive engagement with peers, experts, and practitioners that span courses and contexts.
  4. Technology is an emergent, multi-disciplinary field that needs to be experienced in sustained, collaborative contexts.
  5. Professional development is a longitudinal, reflective process that requires both continuous feedback and documentation in relation to measurable, marketable outcomes.