August marked the end of the summer for the Doceo Center as most of our staff dispersed to the four corners of the world (or at least Idaho). Yet, this did not stop us from moving forward several key initiatives and gearing up for the Fall semester. In the month of August, we wrapped up our series of summer institutes, announced a brand-new K-12 open education MOOC, hosted various tours of our facilities, rolled out an innovative Online Teaching Studio, and began gearing up for Fall research and outreach efforts.
First, the Northwest Inland Writing Project (NIWP) Summer Institutes took a new form this year as a collaborative effort between NIWP, the Idaho Common Core Network, and the University of Idaho Doceo Center of Innovation + Learning. Two regional institutes were held for two weeks each. The first institute, with 24 teachers in attendance, took place at the University of Idaho’s Research Park in Post Falls during the last two weeks of June. This institute was facilitated by Mary Orr from NIWP, Barbara Crumb from Idaho Common Core Network, and Cassidy Hall from the Doceo Center. The first two weeks of August brought 17 teachers to attend at the Doceo Center Lab in Moscow with facilitators Jill Diamond from NIWP, April Niemela from Idaho Common Core Network, and Cassidy Hall from the Doceo Center. The focus for the institutes was to support the teaching of writing with the use of technology to meet common core standards. Each participating teacher received a 10" Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with keyboard case to support the introduction of technologies for writing into the classroom. The devices were used throughout the institutes and were applied to learning about blogging, digital storytelling, and nature writing. This year’s efforts will continue for 5 meetings throughout the 2014-15 school year and wrap up next summer with a one week institute. Research is also being conducted on the ability of technology to support the writing process for both teachers and students, and three teachers in attendance received additional Galaxy Tabs with keyboard cases for classroom use to support a study on nature writing and six teachers received iPevo document cameras with magnifying lenses. After participating in the institute, 50% of teachers noted a "drastic improvement" in their technology device use, and virtually all noted atleast a "moderate improvement."
As a follow-up to our open education summer institutes, we've also announced an Introduction to Open Education in K-12 massive open online course (MOOC), which will begin in October. This course is free to all participants and has no registration requirements. In this MOOC, participants will be exposed to the foundations of open education and will have the opportunity to ask questions of experts and share their knowledge with others. A number of guest speakers have agreed to participate in the MOOC, including Jim Groom (University of Mary Washington), George Veletsianos (Royal Roads University), and Georgia Harper (The University of Texas at Austin). Sign-ups for the MOOC are still open, and more information may be found on the course website.
We hope this MOOC will be of great interest to educators everywhere, and it is designed to be useful in a variety of scenarios ranging from single educators interested in learning more about open education to districts interested in providing formal professional development to their teachers. Information on reduced cost credit for the course may be found on the course website.
We are always excited to share the work that we are doing, and Rep. Wendy Horman was one of many visitors that checked out our lab this month. As always, we were excited to demonstrate to our guests the work going on both on-site and at a distance through professional development and school-based research. As visitors come to our lab, we feel that they are able to get a stronger sense for how we are enacting meaningful change through technology integration in both K-12 and higher education settings.
And finally, since the University of Idaho provides a comprehensive course offering to students at a distance, it is important for the Doceo Center to support efforts to improve teaching and learning in online teaching as well. Though our lab is a state-of-the-art learning space, it focuses on face-to-face or blended scenarios (for courses with students both face-to-face and at a distance) and is less suitable for a single instructor teaching all of their students at a distance. To provide a space to support innovation for online instructors, the Doceo Center rolled out its Online Teaching Studio this month, which is located in SUB 041B. In the studio, instructors have access to a number of exciting technologies that would generally not be available to instructors if they were teaching from home or a standard office. More information about the studio may be found on the studio webpage, and those interested in using the studio for exploration, course design, or course delivery are invited to contact the center to schedule an appoint.
As we move forward into year two of the Doceo Center, we are grateful for all the support we have received from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation, the College of Education, and the University of Idaho, as well as our partnering schools and districts. This Fall, we are rolling out another series of research projects aimed at improving K-12 teaching and learning both at schools and at the University of Idaho, which will provide over one thousand devices for teacher and student use. We have also announced a new round of our Technology-Infused Research Projects, which help to improve the way that experts in various educational research fields use technology to improve educational research. We look forward to sharing progress on these initiatives as we move forward.