Josie Lolli, Apple, Inc., higher education account executive, presented the award before a crowd of faculty, staff and students who joined in celebrating the honor. Lolli announced Southeast is now among an elite group of just 400 Apple Distinguished Schools worldwide.
“You should really be proud of yourselves,” he said. “You made this possible.”
The award recognizes Southeast as one of the most continuously innovative schools in the world for learning, teaching and school environment, with particular credit going to its EDvolution Center. The center, located on the first floor of the Mark F. Scully Building, is a modern, high-tech Apple-based environment that helps Southeast education majors incorporate Apple technology into their educational practices.
“Technology is rapidly changing teaching methods and the ways in which students learn,” said Dr. Carlos Vargas, president of Southeast Missouri State University. “I am so proud that Southeast Missouri State University’s innovations in teacher education and the integration of current and emerging technologies have been recognized by Apple as exemplary. Our EDvolution initiative is taking teacher education to new heights, and I would like to sincerely congratulate the College of Education’s faculty for preparing our students to be tech competent teachers. Being named an Apple Distinguished School is an extraordinary accomplishment.”
Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of the College of Education, added, “I am so proud of the hard work of our faculty in the College. It is exciting to see their transformation of our program recognized by Apple.”
Central to that evolution has been a one-to-one initiative launched in fall 2014 at Southeast.
“The EDvolution Center and the one-to-one initiative that puts iPads into the hands of every student and faculty member has become central to teacher preparation for the 21st century in our College of Education,” said Dr. Karl Kunkel, Southeast provost. “We prepare students for the highest level of integrating technology into their future K-12 classrooms and being on the cutting-edge of innovation for this application.”
Kunkel thanked faculty in the College of Education, Rogers-Adkinson and Heath Hase, EDvolution Center coordinator, for their leadership in advancing the EDvolution and making the Apple Distinguished School award possible.
“We are very proud of this initiative as well as the impact it has not only on our students and their future success, but also the enduring impact this work has and will continue having on the learning of countless K-12 classrooms with our students across the region and beyond,” Kunkel said. “Being recognized as an ‘Apple School of Distinction’ is an honor not only for the College of Education but also for Southeast Missouri State University.”
The EDvolution Center provides students and faculty a space to collaborate with modern technology tools. In the Center’s collaboratory, students can videotape and capture lectures, and use an iMAC, Apple TV and SMART Board. The Center also includes a space where students can create green screen videotaped lessons to be incorporated into online curricula. Another component of the Center is the “the Smith Family Makerspace,” where students can take their lessons to the next level by enhancing them with advanced technology resources, including 3D printers, laser-cutting equipment, coding robotics, virtual reality goggles and mobile green screen technology.
Other tech tools available in the Center are computers, a professional green screen room and spaces for students to make their own videos and “flip” their classrooms. There also are practice model classrooms where students can videotape themselves teaching, watch their mannerisms, practice teaching and assess their performance. At the center are three Mediascapes, a collaborative space with two side-by-side monitors surrounded by a u-shaped desk around which students can work. At the Mediascape, students hook up their own device via an HDMI cable and project it to one of the monitors, allowing them to collaborate and share their work with classmates. People from off-campus also can Skype into discussions and participate from remote locations at the Mediascape.
Hase said that since February 2016, more than 2,000 K-12 students, teacher candidates, local teachers, teacher candidates, community members and faculty have toured or attended workshops in the EDvolution Center, learned about 3D printing in the Smith Family Makerspace, produced professional videos using the One Button Studio and experienced the world through the lens of virtual reality. Of those, about 950 have been students and local teachers who have taken field trips to the EDvolution Center or have competed in Tech Challenges in the Makerspace.
“It is an honor to be recognized by the largest technology company in the world for being a leader in infusing educational technology into our classrooms,” Hase said. “The EDvolution Center, our premier learning space, has not only become a technology rich center for our teacher candidates to learn and explore emerging technology, but also has grown to become a resource for regional educators as well, and our EDvolution is just getting started.”
The Center is catapulting students into the workforce where they are entering classrooms tech ready. Kylie Zurek, a December 2016 Southeast graduate, said, “the one-to-one program at SEMO has helped me succeed in so many ways during my first year as a fourth-grade teacher in northern Illinois.”
She teaches at a 3rd-5th-grade building in the Sterling Public Schools District, an Apple district where they use iPads, MacBooks, and Apple TVs in each of their classrooms.
“The one-to-one program has given me an advantage when it comes to integrating technology into the curriculum set in place for us to use,” she said.
Zurek said the EDvolution training she received at Southeast is helping her prepare her students for the one-to-one setting when they enter the middle school where she teaches. She said several students in her building have asked for her advice on applications to integrate into a specific lesson or unit. She also is head of her building’s technology committee.
“We hold trainings on a new app or website each month,” Zurek said. “I feel my experience in the one-to-one program at SEMO gave me the upper hand when it came to getting a teaching job because I was so practiced in the use of technology in all aspects of education. I am beyond thankful for the professors and staff that helped me succeed and get to where I am today. If it weren’t for their encouragement and expertise in technology and education, I’m not sure I would be so successful as I am today!”
**Top Photo Caption: From left are Southeast Provost Karl Kunkel; Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of the Southeast College of Education; and Josie Lolli, Apple, Inc., higher education account executive.