COE faculty and teacher candidates showcase digital learning preparation

College of Education faculty members and candidates showcased digital learning during educator preparation at the NC Digital Learning Research Symposium at Elon University on February 14.

Dr. Holly Fales, director of assessment, data management, and digital learning; Dr. Melissa Wrenn, assistant professor in elementary education; and two elementary teacher candidates, Mackenzie Jenkins and Millicent Womble, presented at the symposium hosted by the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) and University of North Carolina System, in cooperation with Elon University, the Department of Public Instruction (DPI), and the Friday Institute.  The title and theme of this year’s Digital Learning Research Symposium was Improving Educator Preparation through Empowered Learning with Technology.

At the symposium, attendees had an opportunity to meet with selected Educator Preparation Program (EPP) faculty, candidates, and graduates as they showcased their digital learning practices.  In addition to the showcase, attendees listened to a panel session of teacher candidates and beginning teachers discuss how their EPP prepared them for teaching in the digital age, learned about digital learning partnerships and projects within EPPs, participated in roundtable discussions, and learned about professional development opportunities focused on digital learning for EPP faculty. Attendees for this symposium included NC lawmakers, deans and other leaders from NC institutions of higher learning, and leaders and stakeholders from school systems and education groups around the state.

Teacher candidates Mackenzie Jenkins and Millicent Womble presented projects they completed while in their elementary social studies methods course under the instruction of Dr. Melissa Wrenn. The focus of their session was “Crafting a Critical Lens with Technology and Social Studies.” The session focused on how social studies teachers can use virtual reality and memes to teach revised narratives. Jenkins and Womble also served on a forum with other teacher candidates and beginning teachers to describe their preparation in incorporating digital learning practices in the classroom. Both candidates shared that ECU’s educator preparation program focused on enhancing instruction with digital learning and they felt well-prepared to integrate digital learning in the classroom. Both cited their educational technology course and the Irene Howell Assistive Technology (IHAT) modules for teaching them different methods for using technology with elementary students. In addition, they complete a number of assignments within elementary education methods courses that incorporated digital learning.

In addition to serving on the digital learning workgroup that planned the symposium, Dr. Holly Fales showcased technologies that educator preparation faculty use within a variety of programs to prepare teacher candidates. Her poster detailed tools such as Mursion and GoReact and also included examples of embedded coursework activities that prepare teacher candidates to implement appropriate digital learning technologies in their own preschool through 12 grade (P-12) classrooms. She also focused on the free professional development opportunities that the ECU College of Education provides for P-12 teachers via webinars and the annual edCamp ECU.

Teacher candidates Mackenzie Jenkins and Millicent Womble served on a beginning teacher panel at the NC Digital Learning Research Symposium.

Teacher candidates Mackenzie Jenkins, with microphone, and Millicent Womble, left of Jenkins, served on a beginning teacher panel at the NC Digital Learning Research Symposium at Elon University on Feb. 14.

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