Blended learning. BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Flipped Classrooms.
How are teachers keeping up with new trends in learning?
To help educators and those who support them become leaders in the ever-changing world of educational technology, Seattle Pacific University is now offering a graduate program in digital education leadership.
Students in the Digital Education Leadership MEd will learn about digital education research and best practices on topics such as blended learning, BYOD (bring your own device), and digital citizenship. Each term, students will partner with schools, universities, and other educational organizations to complete real-world projects. All courses are team-taught by university professors and expert practitioners who work full-time as K-12 and higher education professionals. The program will utilize open educational resources, so there are no textbook or software costs and students can apply what they learn at their own institutions.
“Teachers are expected to know how to use technology to teach,” says David Wicks, chair of the new program. “The Digital Education Leadership Program comes at a perfect time to help educators use technology to enhance teaching, learning, and professional productivity.”
The graduate level program is open to educators and support staff with an undergraduate degree who want to become digital education leaders at their institutions. Designed for working professionals, all courses in this program are online, with weekly real-time web conferences.
For more information about the program, visit the website or contact Ted Hiemstra, associate director of graduate admissions, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-378-5478.
Student Thoughts on Active Learning Space
I am teaching an educational technology course in SPU’s new active learning space classroom.* The course is taught in a blended format so we will spend about 30% of the instructional time face-to-face in this classroom. That works out to be three three-hour sessions. In our first face-to-face class meeting I asked “What do you think of this classroom?” Here is a quick summary of their responses. (Keep in mind that most of these students are K-12 teachers.)
- Ability to write on any wall
- Easy to reconfigure furniture
- Adult sized chairs
- Digital clock
- Spacious room for 20+ students
- Students placed in a position where they have to interact with each other
- Can show an individual table’s display to all other tables
- Erasers and markers for all tables.
- Placement of displays, not easy to watch screen and instructor at same time
- Can’t post student work on the walls
- Can’t write in other classrooms
- Chairs are not kid friendly
- High maintenance walls
- Spacing of tables – need more separation between groups
- Instructor’s display in the way – Need it to lay at an angle where it does not block line of sight
- Where to look – Students don’t know where to focus their attention
- Lack of central power for laptops. Have to use power strip connected to wall
- Temperature and air noise in the room
These are insightful comments after only three hours of use. But then again, they are teachers. They dream about the ideal classroom all the time. Cremona 101 is not it… at least not yet.
What are your thoughts? Do you have ideas of how we can improve this classroom or version 2.0 in another learning space?
* You may need to install or update Silverlight if you are unable to view the link above that takes you to a panoramic view of the classroom.
Each school year predictably begins with Seattle Pacific University professors asking me one of two questions:
- What new technologies are you examining? Or,
- How do you keep up with all the changes?
Professors who ask the first question usually follow up with a statement about how fun my job must be to be able to spend all day “playing” with technology. Professors who ask the second question usually follow up with a statement about how they were just getting use to the last round of changes and they have no idea how I can keep track of all the updates. I enjoy the challenge of helping both groups as they seek be successful in their use of instructional technology.
According to Smaldino (p. 1-2), instructional technology is the “integration of teacher and student use and knowledge of tools and techniques to improve student learning.” This definition encourages me to develop better workshops and one-to-one trainings and to continually search for new tools and techniques that can enhance learning.
So, what new technologies are we looking at this fall? Here is a quick table:
|eBeam||Mobile interactive whiteboard tool that allows professors to take the “Smartboard” with them to class.|
|StagePresence||LectureCapture tool that increases social presence by capturing presenter as part of the presentation. Presenter uses gestures to control presentation.|
|Edmodo||Private Facebook-like social networking tool used primarily by K-12 schools to communicate with students and parents.|
|CourseSites.com||Free learning management system (LMS) from Blackboard that allows professors/teachers to have up to 5 free online courses using the latest version of Blackboard Learn.|
|Instructure||New LMS that integrates Web 2.0 tools such as Google Docs and Twitter.|
|NookStudy||Electronic Textbook Reader that works on Mac and PC. Limited integration with Blackboard.|
|iOS 5 and Various iPad Apps including: Fuse, ScreenChomp, VoiceThread||New iPhone, iPad operating system has great features that eliminate need for home button. Fuse is for capturing video, ScreenChomp is a whiteboarding tool and VoiceThread is a reflection/asynchronous discussion tool.|
How do I keep up with all the changes? First and most importantly, I have excellent colleagues in Instructional Technology Services (ITS) who are dedicated to providing great services for faculty. Janiess Sallee, Dominic Williamson, and David Rither do such great work managing their projects that I rarely have to deal with workflow issues that may consume other managers’ days. We also have a great student staff who willingly learn new technologies and are able to explain the costs and benefits to us from a learner’s perspective. Second, I have a great personal learning network (PLN) of colleagues around the world through my relationships with MacLearning.org, MERLOT, Sloan-C, NWACC, and educators I interact with on Twitter. Finally, I have been encouraged to teach courses in the School of Education, which allows me to see first hand what works for those on the bleeding edge as well as those who want to apply instructional technology in a more conventional manner.
I consider it a joy and a privilege to serve the faculty and students of Seattle Pacific University. My department wants to help professors be successful with instructional technology, regardless of their skill level. And yes, it is fun to get to “play” with technology all day. 🙂
Smaldino, S. E., Lowther, D. L., & Russell, J. D. (2011).Instructional technology and media for learning. Boston, Mass: Allyn & Bacon.
This is a presentation I gave at the 2011 Seattle Pacific University Faculty Retreat. During the presentation I facilitated a discussion on the successes and challenges we faced in instructional technology ten years ago. We compared that with where we are today, and where we appear to be going in the near future. Retreat organizers asked presenters to tie in the events of 9/11 as it occurred during the 2001 Faculty Retreat. I did that by showing how the 9/11 page on Wikipedia (started in 2001) has changed over the years. I also referenced the Internet Archive Blog which is featuring a 9/11 tribute.