Digital literacy conference in teacher education

 

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I (Yiola) am excited to share news on a technology conference hosted in the Child Study and Education program at OISE/UT last week.  The conference, Technology for Learning, was designed for our first year MA students. To develop the conference, we surveyed the students to better understand their knowledge of technology use in the classroom. We discovered that while most students were users of technology, very few used technology in the classroom and very few were familiar with educational approaches and applications for the classroom. The survey was helpful in developing the structure and content for the conference. We then carefully examined which technology based topics and themes  were covered in program courses and from there we decided which areas would be best for the conference.

Students expressed they lacked knowledge in, and seemed most interested in, applied uses of technology in educational settings so we decided to host sessions on: blogging, online literacy, assessment, social media in the classroom, gaming, formal and informal learning sights, coding, assistive/adaptive technologies. For a complete list of the sessions and their descriptions click on the website we designed for the conference here:

http://technologyforlearning2016.weebly.com/

Students signed up for the conference via the website and after significant planning, emails and bookings,  we were set to go.

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Ready for student registration. There were 77 students in attendance.

The full day conference included: an introduction, 2 one-hour sessions, lunch break, a 3rd one-hour session, student led poster presentations, Q & A and closure. The introductory session led by myself and Heather (co-designers and hosts) set the stage for the day. I introduced the notion of digital citizenship, its themes and local resources and Heather introduced theoretical frameworks for thinking about technology in education. She shared 3 frames: 1) T-Pack  2) Ed Tech Quintet and, 3) SAMR.  Each framework was explained and examples were provided. We left students with the suggestion to select one theme from digital citizenship and one framework that resonated with them and to think about them in relation to the 3 sessions there were about to attend.  Here are some pictures from the day:

We worked hard to include a variety of presenters, from a variety of settings. Included were the Director of OISE library, a lab school Teacher, Professors from the university, a Teacher from the public school board, and Doctoral students.The images above show some of our amazing presenters.

We provided a lunch where the presenters along with Department Chair Professor Earl Woodruff and Program Chair Professor Rhonda Martinussen gathered to share ideas regarding technology for learning.

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After lunch there was one more set of sessions followed by student-led poster presentations (see images below for student led poster presentations). Students submitted proposals which were reviewed and returned with feedback. The poster presentations provided a wonderful opportunity for students to share their expertise and knowledge in an academic setting. It was a moving and motivational part of the conference.The following 4 images show examples of the student-led poster presentations.

 

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We closed the conference with a Q & A and an unplugging of technology through the fun and fitting picture book “Good night iPad”.

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It was a wonderful day. The informal feedback from students has been positive. We plan to send out a post survey about the conference to deepen our understanding of student learning and to improve our own practice in the area of digital literacy teaching. For more information about our conference please feel free to contact us via our blog.

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