Summer is anything but an academic break at the Doceo Center, where we have spent the month of June presenting at conferences, leading summer institutes with K-12 teachers, and gearing up our lab for the fall semester, which will shortly be on our doorstep.
In the month of June, we presented at two major national conferences: UBTech and NASDTEC. At the University Business Technology (UBTech) conference, we presented two sessions that focused on our outreach efforts to K-12 teachers and our work with higher education faculty in our innovative learning technologies lab. Our sessions were well attended, and the center was also identified as a finalist for two AMX innovation awards, which are meant to honor innovations with technology in higher education.
At the annual conference of the National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification (NASDTEC), we led a session with representatives from institutes of higher education and state departments of education on the complex topic of preparing teachers to be technologically competent in classrooms and what this entails for colleges of education and states in determining licensure requirements and coursework.
As we presented on our many efforts at the center, participants expressed great interest in our work with K-12 teachers and university faculty. In this regard, we also began conducting our summer institutes in June and are currently in the middle of these endeavors. Two out of four Technology and Open Education summer institutes have been held so far, and initial results reveal that participants are finding them to be meaningful and a valuable use of their time, with 33% of participants reporting them to be the best professional development sessions they have ever attended. We hope that as we continue these institutes, they will serve as a basis for guiding local, state, and national decision-making in relation to open education and technology integration.
Additionally, we have also taken a lead role in the NIWP Summer Institutes in collaboration with the Northwest Inland Writing Project and the Idaho Common Core Network. One of two institutes has been completed so far, serving 24 teachers in northern Idaho, and its purpose was to support teachers in teaching writing across subject areas through effective integration of common core standards and technology. The center provided a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 tablet to each participant in the institute to help guide them in this regard, and we will use these devices to gather evidence on the devices’ uses for supporting nature writing. Six teachers attending the institutes will also receive iPevo Point 2 View document cameras to further support this process.
Many people are interested to know what we are finding in relation to open education and technology integration as we work with K-12 teachers, and we have been accepted to present some of our findings at the annual international Open Education Conference, which will be held this November in Washington, DC. At that conference, we will report on outcomes from our institutes and also provide a narrative of how open educational practices can help to improve educational opportunities in rural areas and also identify areas that need to be addressed in order to make open education successful.
In preparation for the Fall, we continue to bring in new technologies both for use in our lab and for dissemination to schools. This month, we also acquired the following: a large set of Samsung Chromebook 2 devices, which we will utilize for authentic research in schools; a brand-new Chromebase, which may represent the future of stationary school computer labs; a telepresence robot, which we have used to provide tours of our lab to interested parties at a distance and may be used to help address the needs of students who have difficulty attending traditional classrooms; and a quadrocopter, which we are currently seeking authorization to use for collecting aerial imagery for teaching in agricultural and environmental sciences.