Teacher Programming Embraces Technology for the Classroom

May 10, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

USF teacher candidates practice recording themselves and editing footage for their edTPA exams in their Technology for Teaching and Learning course.

The College of Education (COE) at the University of St. Francis (USF) continues to prepare its students to teach in the classrooms of the future. COE Professor Lisa White-McNulty, Ph.D. has fully embraced the use of technology in her course, Technology for Teaching and Learning (TTL), by utilizing several forms of modern technology such as tablets, interactive whiteboards, smartphones and cloud-based computing, to name a few.

“My goal is to cultivate curious explorers,” says White-McNulty. “I want our teacher candidates to be comfortable trying new digital tools, and always with the aim of enhancing student learning and creativity.”

Several forms of educational technology utilized in the course allow teachers to be more productive in the classroom. For example, a digital assessment can be automatically graded and the teacher can quickly determine who is ready for the next step and who needs more support before moving on. Other means of educational technology promote active learning and for students to learn at their own pace. By the end of the course, White-McNulty’s students are exploring on their own to find the right tech tools to help them achieve what they want to accomplish.

The greatest advantage in integrating technology into the classroom is that the tools are not limited to one or two specific subject areas. “Technology can be integrated in any subject area, but there are some tools that work better for certain subject areas or skills,” says White-McNulty. “For example, a digital storytelling app is great for developing writing skills; timeline creators allow students to create a multimedia timeline for a history project, and visual simulators can enhance students’ understanding of abstract scientific concepts.”

However, the experience USF students gain from the TTL course is not limited to their post-graduation work. USF students are also applying what they have learned in the course to real-world needs. For example, in the TTL course, students learn how to create website for their classroom. In a later course, they use these skills to create a digital portfolio of their work once they begin their job search. Students are also taught how to shoot and edit video in the class. This prepares them to make a video of their teaching, which is a requirement for the edTPA, the final assessment for teaching licensure.

The application for technology in the classroom is clearly beneficial for students and teachers at any stage in their education. Utilizing technology allows students and teachers to be prepared to meet the needs of all students in a variety of learning scenarios.

For more information about the College of Education at the University of St. Francis, please visit stfrancis.edu/COE.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit stfrancis.edu. University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.