Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
On Friday, January 24, the Faculty of Education hosted its 6th annual Teaching with Technology showcase at Brock’s Hamilton Campus.
Created to inform educators – both future and practicing – about the uses of today’s technologies in the classroom, the Showcase had a wealth of workshops for participants to experience; from iPad for Early Learning to Xbox in the Classroom to Gamification.
Regardless of familiarity with the topics or the technology, many participants, including teacher candidate Ryan Machulla, recognized the opportunities a conference like the Teaching with Technology Showcase provides.
“Being a future educator and a student of the Concurrent Education program at Brock University, I was immediately interested in attending the Technology Showcase because I acknowledged the potential that the workshops could have,” he said. “It is undeniable that emerging technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent in the classroom, and I thought that this opportunity would allow me to enhance my technological knowledge and understanding, as well as my skillset.”
And while the workshops offered many the opportunity to learn about new technologies for the first time, Machulla notes that there was an additional benefit to the Showcase’s workshops.
“While I was familiar with most of the technologies that the various workshops addressed, I was able to see how I could use such technologies in ways that I haven’t previously thought of,” he says. “Similarly, the discussions that were generated at the workshops have further enhanced my desire to incorporate blended learning in the classroom in an effective manner.”
Throughout the day, many of the participants, in true technological fashion, took to Twitter to relay their thoughts:
Mr. Roes @MrRoes
“My mind is blown at all the hard work that has been put into @sesameio!! Incredible”
“#brocktechies Xbox Kinect is such a great way to meet DPA and curriculum expectations in a engaging way!”
Melissa Jane Howell @msmjhowell
“What an impressive day! So many ideas using technology in the classroom! I am feeling inspired!”
Camille Rutherford, Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education and one of the event’s organizers, says that the Showcase not only offers participants the ability to hear from industry leaders, but also provides unique opportunities to current teacher candidates.
“The greatest change for the showcase has been the inclusion of teacher candidate presentations,” says Rutherford. “For the past three years, members of the EdTech Cohort have delivered presentations related to the use of 21st century teaching tools; the showcase has become an excellent opportunity for these teacher candidates to demonstrate their expertise and leadership in supporting 21st century teaching and learning.”
Rutherford also notes that when it comes to technology in the classroom, we’ve only begun to realize its potential as a learning tool.
“We are still just scratching the surface of the benefits of using educational technology,” says Rutherford. “We still need a critical mass of tech-enabled teachers that are skilled at using technology to enhance student learning before we can realize the full benefits of 21st century teaching and learning -the fact is that we are 14 years into the century and still consider 21st century teaching a futuristic prospect.”
In addition to the near-300 registered participants, the Showcase fielded last minute calls from teachers and principals from as far away Peterborough and Sarnia hoping to attend, leaving Rutherford to state that, “there is an un-met need for technology related professional development”.
While the need may be un-met on a larger scale, the Faculty of Education will look to do its part once more next year, when it hosts the 7th annual Teaching with Technology Showcase.
View photos from the Showcase