Embracing classroom technologies: the challenges and the rewards

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Technology solutions, services and applications for the classroom are being introduced so rapidly that staying up-to-date can be a challenge. Who is responsible in your institution for assessing new products and deciding if those are worthy of being introduced? Do you occasionally meet resistance from staff who do not see the value of new technologies in the classroom or who simply do not feel they have the time to learn and assimilate these solutions into their daily teaching schedule?

We discussed this with Jenielyn E. Padernal, MM from the Center for Innovative Learning Programs at De La Salle University.

How has teaching been transformed at DLSU in recent years with the introduction of a more blended earning approach?

5 years ago the university decided that it wanted to bring our education to a whole new level. With careful planning and with the great support from the school administrators,  an Educational Technology center, now known as Center for Innovative Learning Programs, was created. This all started when a fellow educator shared how she uses technology in the classroom.

What has changed today, and how teaching has transformed at DLSU-D  is  our adoption of an LMS, we are currently using NEO LMS, as well as different technological tools in teaching like: Microsoft tools – OneDrive personal, OneDrive for Business and O365, all of which are integrated in our LMS and readily available for teachers and students to use.

Our LMS is also being utilized for blended and web enhanced classes, teachers can create online lessons, assessments and share other resources through our LMS. This makes teaching and learning ubiquitous. I have already trained approximately 500 teachers on how to use the LMS for teaching, be it blended or web enhanced, along with other technological tools for education. A great number of teachers in our university are now using technology in the classrooms.

This change in teaching had a huge impact on learning as well. The students bring their own devices (BYOD) and they can access their lessons anytime, anywhere, participate in discussions anytime, anywhere and accomplish their task anytime, anywhere. This kind of teaching delivery makes the students more independent learners at some point. This also helps them to be more critical thinkers, take charge of their learning at their own pacing, as well as learn how to collaborate and be more creative. This is helps develop their 21st Learning skills and it helps them to be more work-ready which is one of the primary goals that our school has.

In your experience what are the best ways for busy educators to be kept up-to-date and trained?

Management support is always important. The school administrators play a critical role in encouraging teachers to attend training on the use of technology in education. It is also very important to create awareness among teachers as to how this will benefit them and their students. While face-to-face training  is effective, online training for busy teachers can be a good alternative. In our school, whenever training and teachers wants to attend but are busy or they have classes during the scheduled training, they are allowed to file for an alternative using our LMS. They may opt to have an asynchronous class or provide online activities for students so that they can attend face-to-face training.

From time to time, we also provide technology in education tips and tricks, kinda like Teaching with Technology Hacks. Tips about the different apps and tools that they can use in teaching, and these are usually are sent via our LMS’ Newsfeed. In this case, they are kept up-to-date about the latest trends in technology education. We also cater for one-on-one training and walk-ins for teachers who need assistance in the use of the platform or some tools for education, even if it is not part of the regular training schedule.

Do you have tips for those educators encountering resistance in implementing technologies in the classroom?

Lead by example. Show and tell always works. Show people what you do and tell them how easy it is and how advantageous it is for them. A lot of teachers and even students get curious to try when they know and when they see the benefits of using technology in the classroom. One specific example is by showing them they can go paperless in assessments and handouts with the use of technology. Show them how they can access teaching and learning materials anytime, anywhere without having to bring their laptops with them all the time.

Do you have specific examples of technologies that have saved time and added value?

Alongside our Learning Management System, we have started to introduce other tools for teachers and students as well, like OneNote, Sway and OfficeMix as tools for teaching and learning. Some teachers have already been trained on how to use Sway for online lessons and teaching them how embed this in our LMS. Sway is an app used for creating interactive online contents. There are also students  who have started to use Sway in learning and creating their school assignments. In my own class, I have been using Sway regularly for online lectures and assignments, which most of the time are embedded in our LMS. My students have created several Sways. Some have already tried Office Mix and most have their O365 account activated and have already started exploring on online office like word and excel. There are also teachers who have started exploring Sway and have tried embedding it in our LMS. Both the teachers and the students are enjoying the use of these tools and they have started exploring the collaborative ways that they can utilize these tools, like editing Sway as a group. Some even learned and accepted the use of Social Media in the classroom (e.g. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube).

Jenielyn will be joining the panel discussion “how can educators best be prepared and encouraged to embrace technology driven teaching methodologies” and is excited to be speaking at EduTECH Philippines 2017 “Sharing what I know about technology and education has always been my passion. I am always excited to learn new things and share it to others especially to fellow educators”.

Book now to reserve early bird tickets!

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