Technology takes center stage for elementary education students

July 7, 2014

When the morning bell rings to start classes in elementary, middle and high schools across Kansas, more and more students are reaching for electronic devices instead of textbooks. Beginning in 2014-15, graduates of Emporia State University’s elementary education program will be better prepared to teach in technologically advanced classrooms.

“Technology is a productivity tool that strengthens critical thinking, creativity, information literacy and working with others in a collaborative environment,” said Dr. Ken Weaver, dean of The Teachers College at Emporia State University, explaining that 103 school districts in Kansas have launched programs called “one-to-one initiatives” in which some or all of their elementary, middle and high school students have their own computer or tablet during the school day and at home in the evening.

In August, sophomores, juniors and first-semester seniors majoring in elementary education at Emporia State University will bring iPads to classes, using them for assignments in much the same way their future students already do. At the same time, college students will learn to teach with the devices allowing them to serve their students better when they become professional educators.

The program, called Hornet Connected Learning, creates a learning network to assist students with evolving technologies. It is being implemented in all elementary education programs connected with The Teachers College.

“The Hornet Connected Learning program is creating quite a buzz in The Teachers College,” said Dr. Lori Mann, associate professor of elementary education, early childhood and special education. “Our elementary education faculty have gone through intensive training on these devices to create customized learning experiences for our students.”

Students’ experiences using the devices will change as they move through their courses, Mann said.

“As they pursue their degrees, they will create and collaborate with others using their iPads,” she explained.

In Hornet Connected Learning students will find numerous uses of the devices, including:

  • Participating in teaching and learning projects similar to those in many current K-12 one-to-one initiatives in Kansas and across the country;
  • Learning how to help others learn and teach with technology;
  • Being able to choose electronic textbooks for many Emporia State courses.

Hornet Connected Learning kicks off in August with special events for elementary education majors at the Emporia campus and distance sites:

  • Aug. 4 — Kansas City
  • Aug. 8 — Butler Community College
  • Aug. 12 — Emporia campus for Block 2 students
  • Aug. 17 — Emporia campus

For more information about Hornet Connected Learning, go to www.emporia.edu/teach/hcl/.

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