January 25, 2012

Annual Faculty Development Day Offers a Plethora of New Ways to Incorporate Technology Into Students’ Learning Experience.

Hamline English professor Anne Elstrom Parks can’t wait to put her newly-downloaded apps to good use in the classroom.

As a participant in the annual faculty development day, she received many new tools to enhance students’ learning experiences and utilize rapidly-evolving technology.

The event, entitled “The Flipped Classroom: Student Thinking and Faculty Teaching” was facilitated by Hamline’s Center for Teaching and Learning. “Flipped” teaching refers to methods which employ technology to essentially “flip” the typical instruction model. For example, a professor could provide a week’s course content through online multimedia and free up the in-class time for discussion.

“As professors, our philosophy for students is to never quit learning,” Elstrom Parks said. “That applies for us, too. Today we’re exploring many powerful tools out there that can be used for educational purposes.”

The technology-based focus for this year’s development day was chosen in part due to faculty-interest in learning new modes of teaching to enrich students’ learning experiences.

“The flipped teaching model engages far more learning styles and takes advantage of cutting-edge technologies,” Christiane Reilly, e-learning designer and developer at the Center for Teaching and Learning, said. “It’s becoming a best-practice because it gives faculty more time to engage with students.”
 
The day-long seminar included hands-on breakout sessions that gave faculty members the opportunity to explore and practice. One session demonstrated how iPads could be used to host live lectures internationally via the “Facetime” app or create podcasts for absent students. Another focused on fresh alternatives to Powerpoint presentations like Prezi, Mindmapping, and Bubbl.

“Technology-enhanced learning is very motivational for students,” Reilly said. “There’s so much content out there for them and many ways for them to follow-up with new resources.”

The seminar also featured a keynote address given by Milton Chen, senior fellow of the George Lucas Educational Foundation and author of Education Nation: Six Leading Edges of Innovation in our Schools. The day concluded with a lottery that featured prizes including Echo SmartPens, webcams, and an iPad.

“It was incredible to be given the chance to test out these new technologies and methods,” Mary Anne Cummings, a professor in the Hamline School of Education, said. “I can’t wait to put them into practice.”

Learn more about the flipped classroom and the Center for Teaching and Learning online.

Check out some pictures of Hamline faculty members testing out iPads, webcams, and more.

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