LAWRENCE — As part of the Center for Research on Learning at the University of Kansas, ALTEC (Advanced Learning Technologies in Education Consortia) hosted a Summer Technology Camp as a means to pull together educators from across the state and present rich, relevant, technology-related practices. Last month, approximately 60 educators from across the region gathered as fellow professionals, participants and presenters at Joseph R. Pearson Hall.
Registered participants gathered for a full-day camp experience, including 19 educational sessions, breakfast and lunch, access to representatives from Apple, Inc. and Alexander Open Systems (AOS), as well as exposure to fellow educators passionate about educational technology.
“We really value the opportunity to showcase the knowledge in the region, especially on important content around technology and education,” said Marilyn Ault, director of ALTEC.
ALTEC resources, consisting of educational games, web-based instructional resources and scalable online quizzes. are accessed more than a million times a month. The ALTEC professional development providers address the challenges of enacting technologies in the classroom through on-site professional development, instructional coaching and program support. Serving as one of the eight strategic divisions of the CRL, ALTEC’s mission is to design, develop and evaluate the effective use of educational technologies in K-12 instruction and to use evolving telecommunication technologies to connect and engage learners.
Focused on technology and instructional integration, the concept for a technology camp was originally developed in 2011 with a specific focus on mobile learning for K-12 educator, and expanded to include KU School of Education faculty in 2012. However, as the learning needs of area educators continued to evolve, ALTEC researchers and faculty members from the KU School of Education began to strategically address the need for advanced professional development opportunities related to technology, both inside and outside of the classroom.
“It is a growth experience for us, just as much as for them. We really count on the expertise of the practitioners in the field who continue to support our event as presenters,” said Jana Craig-Hare, assistant research professor for the CRL. “We now offer a Summer Technology Camp for local educators as well as a two-day Technology Camp for our own KU School of Education faculty."
The camp planning committee has tried to offer a variety of mini-conference formats, especially emphasizing opportunities for participants to network with each other.
“Our goal is to promote collaboration and team-based learning as much as we can,” Ault said. “We want to stay connected with our [Kansas] teachers and serve as a resource for them."
Participants (both presenters and attendees) at the 2014 Summer Technology Camp represented various cities in Kansas, including Atchison, Baldwin City, DeSoto, Fort Hays, Great Bend, Kansas City, Leavenworth, Olathe, Ottawa, Topeka and Wichita.
Earlier this summer, the School of Education partnered with others to host their annual Strategies Conference as a free professional development event supporting Kansas educators. While both of these events are geared to provide practice-based learning opportunities, the ALTEC Summer Technology Camp focuses specifically on technology in addition to educational strategies as a whole. “We appreciate any available opportunity to bring regional educators to campus, especially in JRP Hall; and provide them exposure to the KU School of Education’s university-level faculty experts,” said Lon Dehnert, assistant dean at the School of Education.
ALTEC and the KU School of Education anticipate offering another Summer Technology Camp for area educators in June 2015.
The CRL is an internationally recognized research and development organization noted for creating solutions that dramatically improve quality of life, learning, and performance — especially for those who experience barriers to success.
KU is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. The university's mission is to lift students and society by educating leaders, building healthy communities and making discoveries that change the world.