Building the Future: Tinkering and Playful Learning

The following is an excerpt from an article in The Journal by Mike McGalliard and Anne Wintroub. It’s too good not to share. I encourage educators and parents to read and consider the ideas and recommendations presented in the full article.

“Educators and business leaders have more in common than it may seem. Teachers want to prepare students for a successful future. Technology companies…have a vested interest in developing a workforce with the STEM skills needed to grow the company and advance the industry. How can they work together to achieve these goals? Play may [be] the answer.

“We’ve assumed that focusing on STEM skills, like robotics or coding, are important, but the reality is that STEM skills are enhanced and more relevant when combined with traditional, hands-on creative activities. This combination is proving to be the best way to prepare today’s children to be the makers and builders of tomorrow. That is why technology companies are partnering with educators to bring back good, old fashion play.

“In fact many experts argue that the most important 21st century skills aren’t related to specific technologies or subject matter, but to creativity; skills like imagination, problem-finding and problem-solving, teamwork, optimism, patience and the ability to experiment and take risks. These are skills acquired when kids tinker. ” — The Journal

Sources: Image 1, Image 2

Our Book Is Now Available

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues

Drew Polly, Clif Mims, and Kay A. Persichitte

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education ProgramsDescription

Though technology is expanding at a rate that is alarming to many skilled laborers concerned for the welfare of their industry and jobs, teachers should feel safe in their position; however, teachers who refuse to adapt to technology will be left behind.

Developing Technology-Rich Teacher Education Programs: Key Issues offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe. Contributors from 32 universities from around the world came together as authors of case studies, methodologies, research, and modeling to produce the work that went into this reference work. The target audience for this book includes faculty, leaders, teacher educators, and administrators within higher institution and every level of education.

Overview

Teacher education programs, more than ever before, are under severe scrutiny from national and state government, policy, and accreditation organizations. Teacher education programs are being asked to provide evidence of their impact on teacher candidates, as well as the indirect impact of teacher education programs on PK-12 students. Reforms in teacher education programs focus on the integration of 21st century skills, which include knowledge and skills related to information technology, creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, and communication (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2004).  Technology is an essential component of these 21st Century reforms.

The focus of teacher education programs is to prepare teacher candidates to effectively teach in 21st Century learning environments. These classrooms have access to Internet-connected educational technologies, including computers, hand-held, or portable devices (U.S. Department of Education, 2010). As a result of the technology-rich nature of PK-12 schools, it is critical for teacher education programs to examine their effectiveness related to preparing teacher candidates to effectively use educational technologies to support teaching and learning processes.

The construct of Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) has explicated the knowledge and skills related to technology integration. Candidates develop the knowledge and skills related to technology integration through educational technology courses, methods courses, and technology-rich field experiences (Schrum, 1999). In this book, contributors address all of those contexts and provide examples of how technology-rich teacher education programs have developed TPACK and related skills in teacher candidates and faculty.

The purpose of this book is to provide examples and frameworks related to creating effective models of infusing technology into teacher education programs. This book is intended for faculty and others associated with teacher education programs as a resource of creating technology-rich teacher education programs.  As a result, each chapter has clear directions and implications for adopting their ideas into teacher education programs.  Further, the ever-changing landscape of what constitutes current educational technologies, has led the editors to focus this book on examples and models that address current educational technologies, but are likely to be relevant over the next decade or two as well.

The book is divided into six sections, which focus on:  Frameworks for Technology Integration, Web 2.0 technologies, Teacher Education Courses, Integrating Technology across Content Areas, Field Experiences, and Ways to Support Teacher Education Faculty.

Testimonial

“This book offers professional teacher educators a rare opportunity to harvest the thinking of pioneering colleagues spanning dozens of universities, and to benefit from the creativity, scholarship, hard work, and reflection that led them to the models they describe.  Teacher educators are, indeed, fortunate to have this opportunity to make informed decisions that will transform teacher education at this important moment in the history of education.”

Kyle L. Peck, Associate Dean for Outreach, Technology, and International Programs and Professor of Education at Penn State University, USA

Personal Note

I’d like to thank everyone that contributed to this book and worked with us during the past year and a half. I’d especially like to note the contributions and dedication of my friends, colleagues, and co-authors, Drew Polly and Kay Persichitte.

I hope this work enhances teacher education and technology integration ultimately blessing the education and lives of all learners.

– Clif

Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

The following are my slides and resources from a professional development workshop that I’ll be facilitating for a local high school today.

Workshop materials available on the resource wiki, Learning Collaboratively.

I welcome your thoughts and feedback. Together we learn more.

Picture It! – Photo Scavenger Hunts in the Classroom

I’ll be facilitating one of the opening workshops today at the Arkansas Association of Instructional Media Conference. I’m excited to be back in Arkansas as I went to college and spent my first two years teaching in this state. The AAIM Conference is in Hot Springs which is one of my favorite Arkansan (Pronounced like “Are Kansan”) towns. I’ll be speaking a couple of more times throughout the 3 day conference. Here are the resources from today’s workshop.

Workshop Description
Photo scavenger hunts get students moving while engaging them with course content. Well-designed photo scavenger hunts integrate 21st century skills and promote higher-order thinking.

Workshop Resources

View more presentations from Clif Mims

Free Apple Seminar for Educators

Reaching All Learners:
The event for forward-thinking education and IT leaders

Monday, February 8, 2010
9:00 AM – 2:30 PM
The University of Memphis, FedEx Institute of Technology

At this interactive event, you will have the opportunity to experience a digital learning environment first hand and see how Apple technologies can help you meet the diverse needs of today’s learners, including those with special education and language literacy needs.

Who Should Attend?
This event is designed to host leadership teams from your school district or private institution: Superintendents, Curriculum Supervisors, Board of Education members, Special Education Directors, Title I Directors, and Education Information Technology professionals.

Full details and registration is here.