Technology in Education
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) has awarded Bryn Mawr College a grant of up to $300,000 to evolve STEM teaching over the next three years to make BMC computer and information science programs more culturally accessible and substantive!
Liz McCormack, chair and professor of the Physics Department at Bryn Mawr College, leads this initiative, assisted by Doug Blank and Mark Matlin. The college will use this funding to develop online computing or programming instructional modules that the physics department can insert throughout curricula. These additions will supply students with exposure to new and innovative computing and information science skills.
These leaders hope this initiative will act as a model for other departments at Bryn Mawr as well as for other schools, especially those interested in increasing computer and information science exposure across the curriculum, in part, to reach a more diverse range of students than those that traditionally enter those fields.
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Current media coverage paints "flipped" as a revolutionary form of blended or technology-enhanced teaching. Instead of lecturing, an instructor introduces key concepts and skills though online videos or interactive tutorials, which students are required to complete before class. The instructor then uses class time for active learning exercises designed to help students engage with and master that material -- such as problem-solving, group projects, in depth discussion, debates, etc.
One thing I have learned from the NGLC blended learning and from working with various edu-tech tools and developers, is that the market is very much in flux. Inspired in part by the success of blended learning and the buzz around MOOCs, many companies are working on many different innovative tools and courseware packages, often in response to real needs identified by teachers and students. This is great news, but for the immediate future it means that most of us at some point will need to teach and learn with a tool that is still "in beta" and lacks the robust customer support or functionality of older, more established software.
I've written before about how difficult, yet ultimately rewarding, it can be to get used to working in a "live beta" mode, in which you publish or publicly try something you know to be half-baked, in order to get feedback on how it works in a real-world setting. A recent EdSurge article also offers some concrete logistical tips for instructors who find themselves in this position, due to the newness of the software tools they are trying to use -- such as workarounds for tools that lack "single sign-on" functionality.
One thing that I have learned from the course so far are the different kinds of technology that are present in the classrooms as well as their implications. I have always looked down on technology since I find it to be a distraction rather than a aid in learning. Our outlook on technology in the classroom is forever changing and we definitely take technologies (both old and new) for granted. My rose would be the encouragement to "think outside the box" and participate in different ways that differ from my math education. My thorn would be that because my computer is broken, it really discourages me from doing my readings online and participating in the types of technologies we're learning about.
I felt like this unit was a good introduction and laid down the foundation for the class: defining the terms and posing the big questions to contemplate over the course of the semester. It has encouraged me personally to engage with and explore technology that I have been reluctant to experiment with in the past, including prezi and instagram, and I am excited to continue to learn. We have also established initial contact with our pen pals in Ghana and while we are uncertain about the development of that relationship at this point, I am excited about the possibilities. The prospect of an undeveloped structure to this part of the course is exciting but at the same time, a bit anxiety provoking, and so I hope we can help future participants by laying down some sort of structure for them.
I found this NYT article on Twitter and I feel like it links to our conversation on "effective" uses of technology in the classroom as well as the teacher vs technology debate.
Hi everyone, please download the following files for my curriculum and my rationale.