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.
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, Center for Student Success and Professional Services, and lobby areas each added digital signage to help inform students of current events, activities, services, degree information, and building directories.
In the fall of 2012, the college formed a Technology Committee. Its areas of responsibility include setting priorities, working on technology-related issues, and providing leadership and policy recommendations for college wide technology initiatives.
In accordance with the college’s mission, the faculty adopted and approved the ISTE Standards for Educators in 2018 to ensure the faculty and pre-service teachers are empowered to learn, teach, live and work successfully in the digital age. These standards 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 online graduate-level programming related to online learning:
- Educational Technology Graduate Certificate
- Masters in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Educational Technology
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.
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. The college hosted an iPad Initiatives and Implementation Forum in 2014, designed for technology directors in school districts across Kansas.
The college hosted its first iPad Camp in 2014, a daylong institute for about 260 educators at all levels interested in increasing iPad use and effectiveness in their classrooms.