Southeast Preparing Teacher Education Students to be Technology Savvy in the Classroom

Photo of teachers and students using a SMARTBoard.

Second graders at St. Vincent de Paul School are exploring eBooks via a classroom SMARTBoard. Leading the discussion is second grade teacher Lynne Karnes, a 2005 graduate of Southeast with a bachelor of science in elementary education degree. Interacting with the SMARTBoard lesson is second grader Claudia Price.(View larger image of children using SMARTBoard)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 12, 2006 – Southeast Missouri State University is preparing teacher education students to be savvy with classroom technology, and a new eLearning Certificate will now document their preparation.

The eLearning certificate, which is available for the first time this fall, will verify how effective teacher education students are at using technology so they are well prepared when they begin teaching in their own classrooms.

After all, technology shapes and defines every aspect of society. Less than a century ago, the total knowledge base doubled once every 50 years. Today, it doubles every year due to an accelerated increase in the rate of high-tech advances and breakthroughs. Today, individuals process more information in 24 hours than the average person 500 years ago would in a lifetime, according to Tony Carlson, author of The How of Wow. Ian Jukes and Ted McCain published an article in the same vein titled “New Schools for a New Age.” In it, they say that by the time today’s kindergarteners graduate from high school, information will have doubled at least seven times and technological power will have doubled itself nearly nine times.

As a result, the demand for techno-savvy college graduates has never been greater.

Beginning this fall, Southeast teacher education students may earn eLearning certificates after they have demonstrated competency with basic computer operations, SMARTboards, printing, scanning, digital photography, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, multimedia tools such as mPower 5, e-mail, online journals and threaded discussions, Web page creation, Web search tools and online databases.

Southeast officials say teacher education students seeking eLearning certificates must learn how to apply technology to be effective instructors. They must learn to plan and design learning environments and lessons with technology enhanced experiences. They also must learn how to develop students’ higher thinking skills and WebQuests through the use of technology. WebQuests are activities in which learners draw most or all of their information from the Web. Those seeking the certificate must be able to use technology for assessment and evaluation of students as well.

Teacher education students seeking the eLearning Certificate must complete a capstone project which is submitted, evaluated and presented through an electronic portfolio using WebQuest and a class Web page.

In the portfolio, students also can demonstrate their competence for earning the eLearning Certificate. Southeast officials say students can “push out” to school administrators an electronic presentation portfolio. In it, they can include evidence of their teaching competency, including a teaching video or podcast of their best practice. The presentation can then be sent to principals or superintendents looking for quality teaching candidates.

Lynne Karnes, a second grade teacher at St. Vincent de Paul School in Cape Girardeau and a summer 2005 graduate of Southeast, says the use of technology in the classroom is limitless.

“I feel that today’s teachers must embrace the new technology that is available. I feel like a real Miss Frizzle (of Scholastics’ ‘The Magic School Bus’), able to take my students to places once only dreamed of,” said Karnes, who holds a bachelor of science in elementary education degree from Southeast. “On any given day, my class and I circle the Earth visiting many corners of the globe. I use my SMARTboard to teach every subject. E-Books, E-Field Trips, E-Manipulatives, and even an E-Walk can be accessed and used at any time. My class has explored Mt. St. Helens and visited Antarctica via the Internet. In second grade, we e-mail and complete WebQuests. My children think of using the computers in my classroom with affection. For the children of today, computers are fun, interesting, and a way of life.

“Part of being a good educator of tomorrow’s future is equipping our children with the knowledge of what’s available,” Karnes added. “I think this certificate that Southeast is offering is a wonderful idea.”

Bobbi Morris, the mother of seventh grade student in Cape Girardeau, says the integration of technology into the classroom is essential to ensure the future success of students.

“Technology affects every aspect of our lives. The earlier our children are exposed to technology, the more proficient they will be in the use and mastery of current  trends as well as technological advances of the future,” she said.

Morris says the experiences children have in using technology in the classroom today will benefit them significantly as they pursue their educational goals into the future.

“Children who are exposed to technology at an early age will not be threatened or intimidated by it and will be able to focus on learning the content as opposed to the technology,” Morris said. “I think it is imperative that my daughter be exposed to and expected to use the most current technology in the classroom to ensure her success as a student and beyond.”   

Southeast officials say the knowledge teacher education students gain during their eLearning Certificate preparation will enable them to be successful in Missouri’s eMINTS classrooms (enhancing Missouri’s Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies). eMINTS transforms classrooms into learning environments where teachers and students use multimedia tools to better understand information.

In eMINTS classrooms, educators integrate technology and best teaching practices to create a learning community where teachers and students explore and create knowledge together using a variety of resources. In eMINTS classrooms, students work collaboratively to solve real-world problems through teamwork and hands-on activities.

A Photo of a teacher using a SMARTBoard to explain Microsoft Excel to students

Seventh graders at St. Vincent de Paul School are learning the intricasies of Microsoft Excel in the school’s computer lab. Technology coordinator and Southeast graduate Robert Michael uses a SMARTBoard to explain various functions of the program.(View larger image of the students using the SMARTBoard)