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Teachers' role changing, Apple executive tells Seton Hill University gathering

Friday, April 25, 2014, 11:27 p.m.
 

The role of educators is evolving into helping students understand and apply information as technology plays an increasingly more prominent role in high school and college courses, an Apple Inc. executive said on Friday.

“(Teachers) don't have to be the source of information anymore, the PEZ dispenser,” said Megan Raymond, higher education development executive for Apple. Instead, they can “provide a path” and help students navigate through culling information from different sources and putting it together to form a full understanding of a topic, she said.

“We don't have a scarcity of information anymore,” Raymond said. “We have to rethink our relationship to information. ... It's about constructing knowledge,” not just gathering facts.

Raymond, who holds a doctorate in English literature, spoke on Friday at Seton Hill University's annual iTeach Gallery about ways in which educators can integrate devices and software into everyday class work.

Students in high school today have never known a world without Google, while middle schoolers have always had Facebook and Twitter and elementary students have always known iPads and smartphones, she said.

“Remember what their world is,” Raymond said. “What seems wild and new is just normal to them.”

Through a five-year federal grant, Seton Hill used $1.9 million to hire two staff members, make multimedia rooms and train 97 faculty and staff in the ELITE Professional Development program. The program provides intense technology training that culminates with revamping courses to include more technology, making software applications specific to a class or designing websites for student services.

The university provides all full-time students with a Mac laptop and an iPad for classroom and personal use.

Faculty and students set up exhibits on Friday showing how they have used technology in their courses.

The final project for an assessments class for early childhood education majors required students to present a summary of the course material by using nearly any technological means.

Chelsea Pence, a junior from Dawson, produced an online scrapbook with links to external information by using software called “Cliptomize,” and junior Leah Schott of Murrysville used iMovie to shoot a 15-minute video that included a case study with her neighbor illustrating different assessments.

“We had free range as long as it was creative,” Schott said.

Sister Susan Yochum, a chemistry professor, showed how she used her iPad to videotape lab demonstrations so students could watch them before coming to class. As a final project in her quantitative analysis class, she had first-year science majors produce a multimedia lab report instead of a traditional written one. Students showed off their reports, including one that used a “Star Wars” theme and one that showed animated lab equipment.

“We did a day of presentations. They were very entertaining, and (students) learned a lot,” Yochum said.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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