The College of Education is a leader in the integration of technology in the classroom through the creation of several strategic initiatives centered on equipment and infrastructure, structure, curriculum, professional development and research.
Faculty iPad Initiative
Dean Debbie Mercer purchased iPads for each full-time instructional faculty member in 2013 and required recipients to attend ongoing professional development training through the college’s Catalyst center.
Pre-service Teacher Block A/1 iPad Initiative
Pre-service teachers in Block A/1 (the first set of courses in the elementary/secondary sequence) were provided iPads as instructional tools. This was a proactive move to ensure our graduates will be equipped for the classrooms they will soon lead as many school districts in Kansas adopted the device because of its effectiveness and relative low cost.
In the course Educational Technology for Teaching and Learning (DED 318), iPads are used for all assignments and projects including making educational videos and adding content to the future teachers’ websites.
Student Block C Kindle Initiative
Teachers need to know how to differentiate e-books and digital reading strategies to meet the needs of individual learners. Therefore, pre-service teachers in all of the Block C courses, Teaching Literacy 3-6 (EDEL 461), will receive a Kindle Fire tablet to learn how to teach digital reading strategies that support comprehension. It is important for future teachers to learn to teach digital reading because traditional reading strategies do not always apply to digital reading.
In the spring 2014 semester, Block C students participated in an international project where they were paired up with middle school students from a high-technology, paperless school in Sweden. Using the Kindle Fire tablets, each Block C pre-service teacher created a series of five web-based lessons for his/her Swedish student. The purpose was to provide the Block C students with opportunities to plan and implement technology-based lessons, work one-on-one with students within a virtual environment, and be part of an international project and learn about a high-technology project in a foreign country.
Bluemont Hall Technology Upgrades
Many classrooms and conference rooms are receiving upgrades in technology to enhance learning and instruction. Upgrades include equipment enhancements for classroom and distance education instruction. In addition, the Catalyst center and the Center for Student and Professional Services each added digital signage to their respective lobby areas to help inform students of current events, activities, services, and degree information.
In the fall of 2012, the college formed a standing committee for technology. Its areas of responsibility include setting priorities, working on technology-related issues, and providing leadership and policy recommendations for college wide technology initiatives.
Small Rural Schools Technology Committee
The Rural Schools Educational Technology Consortium is a partnership program with area school districts and the College of Education to assist districts in maximizing technology as a tool to enhance student learning and achievement. Areas of support range from curriculum development to making recommendations to local Boards of Education and community groups.
Technology Data Collection and Analysis Programming
Accreditation data for all 24 teacher licensure programs are entered in an online system. This assessment system automatically generates reports that allow programs to analyze the learning outcomes of our students.
Development of Technology Proficiencies
In accordance with the college’s mission, the faculty approved seven technology proficiencies to ensure the faculty and pre-service teachers are empowered to learn, teach, live and work successfully in the digital age. These technology proficiencies are based on the International Society for Technology in Education standards and the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS). These proficiencies are a roadmap to teaching effectively and growing professionally in a rapidly changing world. Faculty report annually on the implementation of the proficiencies in their teaching and professional work.
Digital Teaching and Online Learning
The college offers graduate-level programming related to online learning.
- The Online Course Design Graduate Certificate provides graduates with instructional design models, research, theory, instructional strategies and technologies.
- The goal of the M.S. in Digital Teaching and Learning program is to attract qualified candidates to the profession of teaching who desire to gain both the theory and instructional best practices associated with high quality teaching and learning.
- The master’s in Educational Computing, Design and Online Learning is for educators who want to develop instruction using learning technologies.
Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative
The college’s technology committee and departments have researched e-textbook options and have developed an action plan to help combat the high cost of commercial print textbooks. The dean’s office funded the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative as an incentive to encourage faculty experimentation and innovation in finding new, effective and less costly ways to deliver learning materials to students. Faculty can receive stipends up to $3,000 for proposals to replace costly commercial textbooks with faculty-created online resources and e-textbooks at no cost to the students.
Faculty members who have received college grants for creating alternative textbooks are:
- Brad Burenheide (2014)
- Christy Craft (2014)
- Ann Knackendoffel (2014)
- Tonnie Martinez (2014)
- Leah McKeeman (2014)
- Christina Fanning (2013)
- Cyndi Danner-Kuhn (2013)
- Lotta Larson (2013)
- Sandy Risberg (2013)
Faculty who received grants under the university’s alternative textbook are:
- Doris Wright Carroll
- Ann Knackendoffel
- Chepina Rumsey
iPad Professional Development for Faculty
The purpose of professional development, offered either by the college’s Catalyst center or the Classroom and Instructional Technology Advisor, or CITA, is to advance the faculty’s use of technologies and enhance their instructional capabilities to administer new technology learning methods for students. The Catalyst provides basic training for iPad and iPad applications, and CITA offers advanced training/professional development.
The iPad User Group was initiated in 2010 by staff in the college’s Catalyst center to demonstrate the capabilities of the iPad for both educational and personal use. Meetings are typically held the second Thursday of the month and are open to the public. Topics relate to the use of the iPad and/or applications, and meetings include troubleshooting, sharing information, tips and a question-and-answer period.
Mac User Group
The Mac Users Group is similar to that of the iPad User’s Group and follows the same structure. Anyone can attend the meetings held on the second Saturday of the month, and they are for people wanting to know more about the use of the Macintosh, associated technologies, applications and technical problems. Membership donation is $10 per year.
Professors for OnLine Learning (POLL) Group
The POLL Group was initiated in 2013 by faculty interested in quality online learning. The group meets monthly during the academic year and is open to all faculty and graduate students in the College of Education. Topics relate to quality online teaching strategies, accessibility issues, developing online communities, applications to enhance teaching online, etc. Topical speakers are sometimes invited to share information of interest to the group and some meetings are designated for sharing and discussion among group members.
Faculty members often attend national and international conferences to enhance their use of technology. Recently, faculty attended the iPad Summit in 2013 and the Sloan-C Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium in 2014.
iPad Technology Initiatives Forum
The college hosted its first iPad Initiatives and Implementation Forum in 2014, designed for technology directors in school districts across Kansas.
The college hosted its first iCamp in 2014, a daylong institute for about 260 educators at all levels interested in increasing iPad use and effectiveness in their classrooms.
Kindles & Sweden
A faculty researcher is analyzing data for two literacy-related research projects. The first one was a semester-long research study during which time 6th graders were given Kindle Fire tablets to read a variety of e-books with professional audio narration. The second research project involves Block C pre-service teachers using the Kindle Fire tablets in classrooms. This data guided instructional decisions and adjustments for the fall 2014 semester at which time Kindles were implemented across all sections of Block C. The research results were shared with the Swedish partner school and at their local university's teacher education program.