Workshop explores digital opportunities in classrooms

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

BOONEVILLE – Northeast Community College instructor Kathy Green remembers the change that came to the college’s classroom about three years ago with the spread of projectors.
Instructors began creating PowerPoint presentations to accompany their lessons, and lectures now had a visual component.
An even more profound change is now in the works, said Green, the academic chair of humanities and social behavioral sciences. As more students have smartphones and tablets, instructors can teach their material in powerful new ways.
“This is not only visual, students are also becoming more participatory in learning,” Green said. “Instructors can get immediate feedback at a point where they can intervene before it is too late.”
That impact was the topic of the college’s first Digital Transformation workshop on Wednesday in the Haney Union. Instructors from various departments gathered to share ways they had begun using technology in their classrooms.
Instructors discussed smartphone applications they had created for students to view microscopic images of tissues and cells, allowing them to more easily review at home what they learned in their laboratory.
They told each other how to create quick-response codes that can be printed on study guides. When students scan these codes with their phones, they are directed to websites with videos, quizzes and other supplemental resources.
The educators also shared resources that allow them to merge a recording of their lecture with graphics and interactive notes. They told of a service that allows students to text message a unique phone number that a teacher can view. Instructors can ask students open-ended questions and view their responses to get a better idea of how well individuals understand what they have learned.
One instructor told of seeing groups of students study via Facebook by posting lecture notes and commenting about them.
“We are trying to get everyone on the same page to see what they can do,” said Jeffrey Powell, webmaster and technology specialist at Northeast.
The workshop comes as Northeast recently began a pilot program that provided iPads to students in radiology technology and medical laboratory classes. The college is also working to make all of its textbooks available electronically.
chris.kieffer@journalinc.com