Cassandra Aquilina and Kendall Zell know how to turn a Google+ hangout into an important teaching tool.
The education students got to show their fellow teachers in training and other educators the ins and outs of the virtual get-togethers on the social media site at the Faculty of Education’s recent Teaching with Technology showcase.
Hosted at Brock’s Hamilton campus, the showcase was devoted to talking technological innovations and how they can be incorporated into the classroom to enhance student learning.
It was also a chance for teacher candidates, like Aquilina and Zell, to demonstrate their technological and classroom savvy, and their potential to transform education once they enter the teaching profession.
“People seem very excited about technology and using it in their classrooms,” Zell said. “Everyone wanted to know every little bit of information we had to offer so they could maximize (Google+ hangouts).”
With a hands-on approach in almost all of the sessions, including discussions Xbox 360 and Kinect in the classroom, inclusively designed learning experiences and other modern teaching tools, the showcase ultimately tried to ease the anxiety of using technology in the classroom.
“There’s a large fear amongst some educators of using today’s technology in the classroom,” Aquilina said. “A day like today helps reduce that fear and allows people to be more receptive to the idea of this kind of technology in their classroom.”
Event co-ordinator Camille Rutherford said technology’s role in the classroom could be much greater than what it currently is.
“We are not even close to maximizing the potential that tech-enabled learning can provide to personalize learning and address special needs while supporting collaboration, creativity and critical thinking,” the associate professor said. “The challenge has been in moving beyond the use of technology to replicate traditional classroom practice to a context where tech-enabled strategies transform teaching and learning, and provide students with learning experiences that were not possible without the use of technology.”
Whether a novice or expert, everyone participating at the event was able to leave with experiences that will make it easier to enhance and integrate technology in their classrooms, Rutherford added.
The 2013 Teaching with Technology Showcase sponsored by Microsoft, Teachers’ Credit Union, Pearson, Turning Technologies, Strategic Transitions, Homework Help, SmartpenCentral, Front Row, Epson, Advanced Presentation and SMART Technologies.