ITELab (Initial Teachers Education Lab) is a Knowledge Alliance project between higher education institutions and industry to foster innovation and knowledge exchange in initial/preservice teacher education (ITE). The ITELab Knowledge Alliance project includes six universities providing teacher education, of which five will pilot the modules and student MOOC and one will act in an evaluation capacity. Project partners also include four companies that offer Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions and professional development for teachers.

ITELab is co-ordinated by European Schoolnet, a pan-European network of 34 Ministries of Education concerned with the transformation of teaching and learning in schools. European Schoolnet's work in previous projects with Ministries of Education, plus a needs analysis carried out with teacher educators highlighted, that the way in which student teachers currently receive training on ICT is a key roadblock related to the mainstreaming of innovative pedagogical practice that involves ICT. There is also a ‘disconnect' between ITE and continuing professional development (CPD) and, as a consequence, in-service training on the pedagogical use of ICT is increasingly required to equip teachers with the essential competences that they did not acquire during their initial training.

Universities and companies will come together in ITELab and work with Ministries of Education, national ICT agencies and other stakeholders (participating as Associate Partners), to address these issues. The project will provide data and case studies that highlight new approaches to integrating ICT within ITE courses and the challenges that still need to be addressed in order to boost innovation in this area within higher education. Based on this work, the project will develop new course modules and a MOOC for student teachers and pilot these with students enrolled in courses in five universities or working in ‘teaching schools' in different countries. The MOOC will also be delivered to thousands of student teachers from across Europe.

Finally, project partners will put in place a new ITE University-ICT industry Forum and work with a wider group of stakeholders online and in three Capacity Development Workshops in order to establish and sustain this as a permanent network under the independently funded Future Classroom Lab of European Schoolnet. The project course modules and MOOC will help bridge the ITE/CPD disconnect by providing concrete deliverables that will motivate ITE providers, companies and policy makers at national and regional level to actively participate in this project. European Schoolnet and its supporting ministries see this as a strategic next step in the development of the Future Classroom Lab.

ITELab is co-funded under the European Commission's Erasmus+ Programme from January 2017 to December 2019.

Download the ITELab Overview here.