Spring 2017: Advancing the Practices of Teachers (APT)

Using digital technologies to help educators get better at their practice.
Chris Heinrich

Orrin Murray

Urban Education Institute

About Orrin

Orrin Murray is the director of technology and R&D for UChicago Impact. Working across UChicago Impact’s portfolio of tools, he serves as the primary link between domain experts and technology experts. Prior to joining UChicago Impact, Murray held a joint appointment in Learning, Design and Technology and Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education at Penn State. In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate students, Murray was the director of a 1:1 technology initiative at Penn State.

Murray earned a PhD in Learning Technologies from the University of Michigan, an MBA from the Darden School at the University of Virginia and a BA from Williams College.

What’s Advancing the Practices of Teachers (APT) trying to solve?

How we can use digital technologies to help educators advance their social practice. Though teaching is a public practice, in many instances educators (from pre-K through graduate school) find themselves teaching in learning environments alone with students.  Whereas some K-12 school districts have formal induction programs (where more accomplished teachers mentor new recruits), regardless of whether we are thinking of the typical graduate student instructor, or the recently certified K-12 teacher, much of the early years—and the vast majority of the remainder of a teacher’s experiences—are solo and siloed from a a development of practice perspective. Recently however many programs are beginning to use digital video recordings of teaching practice as a basis to engage in conversations about improving practice. Advancing the Practices of Teachers (APT) seeks to build on the underlying concepts of reflecting with a more experienced colleague on digital video and the power of “big data” and machine learning to support the pedagogical development of teachers.

How does the App Challenge help with this great idea?

IBM staff member Frank Greco and Cornelia Bailey are to apply IBM’s BlueMix Technology (including Watson) and other tools to a variety of teaching data sources.  Read more...