CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Sept. 2, 2014 – Education majors at Southeast Missouri State University are learning in newly updated classrooms beginning this semester, and a modernized, state-of-the-art Instructional Resource Technology Center (IRTC) is coming soon.
The College of Education is spearheading these efforts to improve the quality of education for its students with renovations to four of its classrooms on the third floor of the Scully Building.
“The classrooms are more comfortable and have improved space for collaborating in the classroom,” said Dr. Diana Rogers-Adkinson, dean of the College of Education.
The updated, larger classrooms allow the College to better accommodate students, enabling them to take classes vital to their remaining on track for their degree programs. In addition, increased wireless access is available for students to use during their classes, she said.
“The classroom renovations were a total gut and rebuild of the middle classrooms,” Rogers-Adkinson said.
Two of the larger rooms now have dual uses with both a screen and a SMART Board.
In addition to the classrooms, the IRTC room needs to be advanced technologically, as “this area is in need of a huge face-lift and repurposing of use,” Rogers-Adkinson said.
Furniture will be placed throughout the area in ways to make it more functional. After that, renovations will occur over the next year or two. The renovations are being funded by private donors, she said.
The IRTC previously was used by education majors to create die-cut materials for bulletin boards, although the room was frequently used by student organizations to create event posters. While those items are still available, they are now in a smaller, adjacent work room.
The updated and renovated IRTC will have computer stations and areas designed for students to use as work spaces while collaborating on projects, according to Rogers-Adkinson.
The College of Education is launching a “one-to-one initiative” this fall called the EDvolution. The one-to-one initiative will result in all students in the College of Education having and using an iPad Air, she said. As a result, students need space to work on projects with their iPads, which the new IRTC will provide. In addition, the changes will promote collaboration between students and faculty.
The first stage of the renovations began when the Jean Whitaker Demonstration Classroom in Scully was created in 2011. The room is used by students to videotape lectures, and is high-tech with lecture capture capabilities, an Apple TV and a SMART Board.
Another room off the IRTC was created for education majors to practice teaching lessons so they learn to correctly use classroom technology for their field assignments. The room was called the “collaboratory” and was developed after the Whittaker Classroom, according to Rogers-Adkinson.
“We are making substantial changes in our educator preparation programs with a goal that students enter the classroom ‘first-year ready,’” Rogers-Adkinson said.
The changes are part of the EDvolution project the College of Education is rolling out this year. The EDvolution is an initiative Southeast has spearheaded to become a leader in producing graduates who are technologically ready and “who model 21st century teaching techniques,” according to Rogers-Adkinson.
“Nationally there has been a bit of a concern that educator preparation programs have fallen behind and are teaching outdated techniques and skills. We want to be one of the leaders in the state for educator preparation. We are providing them the tools and spaces to practice before they apply the lessons with real children. They will have the ability to enter the room ready to teach,” Rogers-Adkinson said.