Teacher candidates get hands-on with classroom tech

Brock teacher candidates are being equipped with the skills to become leaders in classroom technology through an immersive workshop series offered by the Faculty of Education.

Developed by the Teacher Education program and Brock’s Instructional Resource Centres (IRC), the Future-Ready Teacher Candidates Program provides students with hands-on experience exploring the latest technology in the education field.

“The Future Ready program is unique as it is embedded in Teacher Education. Working closely with faculty, we can fully support our teacher candidates on their path to becoming educators,” said IRC Manager Kim Pelchat.

Topics covered in the weekly drop-in sessions include using robotics and computational thinking for teaching, 3D modelling and printing, using Smart Boards and eGlass in the classroom, and using virtual and augmented reality to engage students in an immersive learning experience.

A group of female Brock students sit around a table with a man in a blue patterned shirt, looking at a laptop while. The students are all smiling looking at the educational materials.

Instructional Design Technologist and Faculty of Education course instructor Dave Potts (left) helps teacher candidates explore “doodle coding” using Ozobots.

Teacher candidates who attend the workshops receive a certificate of participation that can be added to a resumé.

The program is led by Pelchat, Mohammed Estaiteyeh, Assistant Professor of Educational Studies and team lead of digital technology courses in Teacher Education, and Dave Potts, Instructional Design Technologist and Faculty of Education course instructor.

“After the pandemic, the needs of our teacher candidates changed and technological skills and knowledge became a priority; it was clear our students needed more access to resources and hands-on experiences,” Estaiteyeh said.

Located at Brock’s main campus and Burlington campus, the IRCs hold large collections of digital resources and technologies carefully curated to complement the work done in Teacher Education courses.

Estaiteyeh said that by collaborating on workshop series, the Faculty is able to “better support our students in their future careers which we know will be technologically heavy.”

Fifth-year Concurrent Teacher Education student Gabriel Hunter has learned about new technology to use in the classroom and how to integrate tools like micro:bits and Ozobots into the curriculum.

“The hands-on, explorative approach allowed us to develop an understanding of the resources and how to best implement them in our teaching practices. Dave was always there to facilitate and help us develop ideas to create cross-curricular tasks using the technology at hand,” Hunter said.

The most rewarding aspect for Pelchat is witnessing students engage in an educational and fun professional development program.

“I have been told many times that students feel the IRC is their ‘safe place’. They are supported here — at Brock, our students come first,” she said.

Pelchat, Estaiteyeh and Potts aim to continue offering timely, useful workshop topics with the input of students while developing the relationship between faculty research and IRC programming.

“We cannot only teach our students about technology that is currently available in the classrooms; we want to empower our teacher candidates to be leaders in the field and be on the cutting-edge of classroom technology,” Estaiteyeh said.

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