TECH Playground Mission
TECHplayground provides experiences for those who love to learn, play and explore innovative, creative, and imaginative ways to improve teaching and learning with technology.
1) TECH: Transforming Education through Creative Habits
2) playground - informal learning environment, voluntary presence, fun, non-threatening, confidence-building, welcoming, inspiring
3) provide experiences - activities, tools, and opportunities that are not available elsewhere on campus. If an activity/training is provided by traditional means of IT or faculty support, it will not be duplicated in the TECHplayground.
4) those who love to learn, play and explore - TECHplayground will be open to College of Education faculty and students to engage in informal learning opportunities, through guided or independent exploration of a variety of the latest educational technologies and pedagogies.
5) innovative, creative and imaginative ways – The focus of TECHplayground is on cutting edge, innovative practices and tools. Participants will be encouraged to consider not only transforming their teaching and learning practices but engage in collaborative research as well.
6) improve teaching and learning with technology –
In the book Meaningful Learning with Technology (2012), authors Howland, Jonassen, and Marra set forth a set of assumptions that we whole-heartedly agree with:
- Technology is more than hardware. Technology consists also of the designs and the environments that engage learners. Technology can also consist of any reliable technique or method for engaging learning, such as cognitive-learning strategies and critical-thinking skills.
- Learning technologies can be any environment or definable set of activities that engage learners in active, constructive, intentional, authentic, and cooperative learning.
- Technologies are not conveyors or communicators of meaning. Nor should they prescribe and control all of the learner interactions.
- Technologies support meaningful learning when they fulfill a learning need -- when interactions with technologies are learner initiated and learner controlled, and when interactions with the technologies are conceptually and intellectually engaging.
- Technologies should function as intellectual tool kits that enable learners to build more meaningful personal interpretations and representations of the world. These tool kits must support the intellectual functions that are required by a course of study.
- Learners and technologies should be intellectual partners, where the cognitive responsibility for performance is distributed to the partner that performs it better. (Howland, Jonassen, & Marra, 2012, p. 7)
The key word in the phrase “teaching and learning with technology” is with. Learning from technology assumes technology is a tool delivering curriculum to a passive learner. Software or a web site drives the activity by offering pre-programed sequences of material presentation. Learning about technology assumes technology is the curriculum. The focus is on the acquisition of technology skills related to a specific piece of hardware or software. For example, a user may need assistance on adding sound to a Powerpoint presentation, so they contact faculty support for a quick and specific answer. Transformation happens in a classroom when teaching and learning withtechnology is practiced. The focus in this environment is on learning processes or products that are made possible, are of higher quality, or become more efficient through the use of technology. Learners play an important role in selecting and applying the tools and resources that will best further their learning goals and challenge their higher order thinking skills.
“Menu” arranged according to teaching and learning processes to facilitate the incorporation of a variety of technologies and increase the comfort level of participating faculty and students:
- Teaching/Learning Focus
- Examples of Technologies
- Increase Engagement
- Audience feedback, tablet computing
- Offer Multiple Representations
- Digital fabrication, 3D printing
- Meet Students Where They Are
- BYOD, social learning, mobile app development, game based learning
- Globalize Your Classroom
- OERs, MOOCs
- Maximize Communication
- Video conferencing (desktop and mobile)
- Foster Collaboration
- Social learning, project management tools
- Encourage Challenging Learning Artifacts
- Transmedia books, augmented reality, wearable technologies
- Capitalize on Learner Analytics
- Learner analytics, gamification
- Envision Creative Solutions
- Cloud computing, tablet computing
- Design the Future of Learning
- Internet of things, artificial intelligence
- Bridge Research and Practice
- Resources to increase efficiency and quality of research in teaching and learning with technology
By organizing in terms Teaching/Learning Focus, we will lessen the intimidation factor for participants and create an environment in which new technologies can be explored in a dynamic, ever-evolving manner. Each teaching/learning focus will be designed to:
1. draw in participants at their current level of awareness (may have no idea what augmented reality is or how it could apply to their discipline);
2. consider their purpose, problem, and audience (the context within which they want to increase engagement, for example);
3. introduce them to innovative technologies (what gamification might look like in a particular college classroom); and
4. elicit research questions to further collaborative research participation on teaching and learning with technology.
Regardless of whether the participant is at a low or high point of awareness, each should leave the TECHplayground with heightened awareness of new and innovative educational technologies, pedagogical application of innovative technologies within the context of their teaching/learning, and potential teaching and research collaboration opportunities with other participants.
We envision a setting that is flexible, welcoming, and reflects the concepts of technology innovation. For example, rather than a “helpdesk” or “reference desk” for participants to approach or a formal workshop setting, facilitators might first meet with a participant at a coffeehouse-type table with a tablet computer to determine their goals, take them to a particular innovation station to play with a technology, and then perhaps have them try out what they have created on an interactive whiteboard. Facilitators will model curiosity, play, transformational learning, and the application of innovative tools as they interact with participants. Participants and facilitators will be encouraged to share ideas and questions informally on writable walls.