Enhancing Missouri's Instructional Networked Teaching Strategies
Lincoln University is the first Higher Education institution in the State of Missouri to offer eMINTS certification to pre-service teachers. This certification process will complement an existing Area of Concentration in Instructional Technology.
The existing program is comprised of seven classes – a 21 hour block – which gives students skills in using the computer and multimedia technologies to complement and enhance the teaching and learning process.
All of these courses are project driven with the emphasis put on the process of creating multimedia, rather than the product. Therefore, considerable time is spent on brainstorming and planning using programs such as PowerPoint, Word, Publisher and Excel to storyboard, and programs such as SmartIdeas and Inspiration to encourage critical thinking and higher order thinking.
In these classes, students learn Internet search strategies, desktop publishing, web page design, PowerPoint, Excel, Photoshop, and basic graphic design for creating visuals that inspire and complement the learning process. Students combine previously learned information with real world experiences and research in constructing multimedia projects. Again, the emphasis is put on the process of constructing technology-rich learning environments rather than the products produced. The products are simply one measure of the effective use of technology. We realize that a student may produce a beautiful poster or a stunning PowerPoint show without learning the information. Our goal is to inspire wonder, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and the resolve on the student's part to ask questions and look for more than one right answer. We believe this philosophy is at the heart of the InstructionalTechnology program, eMINTS, and the conceptual framework of the Department of Education.
Our conceptual framework identifies three approaches to learning: enduring understanding, engaging pedagogy, and evolving worldview. We believe our Instructional Technology program and eMINTS embodies these philosophical approaches to learning.
The hands on, student centered approach allows the students to feel ownership in their learning, thus giving them a better chance to develop a deeper and richer understanding of the content and how that content can be applied to real world situations.
As teachers, we promote the student centered, constructivist approach to learning which translates into students and faculty being engaged in the learning process.
In constructing multimedia projects, we encourage students to explore the internet, include local area experts, and correspond with students throughout the world. The exploration of the internet along with the many opportunities to participate in various online projects, virtual field trips, and email correspondence, allows our students to develop a more encompassing worldview. Combine this with the fact that LincolnUniversity already provides a diverse student population, and we are moving towards enriching our curriculum with an evolving worldview.
We know that we all must get along, listen and learn from one another, and form a community of learners that includes the classroom, the department, the school, the community, the state, the nation, and the world. We stress the idea of not seeing ourselves in isolation. eMINTS becomes a wonderful example of how a community of learners can impact our entire education system in a positive way.
To become eMINTS certified, students must complete 12 hours of coursework. The coursework is divided into four classes – three credit hours each. The classes are offered as 8 week sessions in the Fall and Spring semesters. Since a significant part of the coursework relates to field experiences, it is important the classes take place during the regular school year.
In the first class (eMINTS I), students are exposed to constructivism, cooperative learning, essential questions, computer basics and troubleshooting,Microsoft Word, the SmartBoard, and using Dreamweaver to construct their web site. They are required to visit an eMINTS classroom and begin working with the eMINTS classroom teacher in developing a mini lesson which they can try out in subsequent visits. The mini lesson is developed from the Constructivist Lesson Plan which focuses on the five E's of learning – engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate. Just as importantly, students will observe constructivism, student centered learning, cooperative learning, the use of the SmartBoard, and other eMINTS classroom activities in context. In this first class, students will begin to develop their portfolio.
The portfolio will consist of artifacts and reflections of the many projects the students develop during the eMINTS certification program.
In eMINTS II, students will build on previous knowledge by focusing on inquiry-based learning, assessment of eMINTS projects, using PowerPoint as atool in inquiry-based learning, classroom management skills, using Excel for entering data, and developing essential questions. In this class, students will develop their mini lesson, so they can actually try it out during the third eMINTS class. Students will get feedback on the mini lesson from the eMINTS classroom teacher as well as the course instructor. Students will continue to develop their classroom web site and portfolios which were started in the eMINTS I.
In eMINTS III, students will focus on creating WebQuests and participating in and creating On-line projects. Since the WebQuest embodies the essence of a constructivist lesson plan, much time will be spent on reviewing and evaluating existing WebQuests, planning the WebQuest, creating it, then submitting it for further evaluation by the eMINTS program. Students will actually participate in an online project. They will review many other online projects using the review sheets from the eMINTS module.
In eMINTS IV, students will focus on using digital imaging in an inquiry-based, and constructivist way. In this class, students will create a digital story by preparing storyboards, acquiring, capturing and editing digital video, and integrating audio in the form of voice overs and soundtracks. Students will also use the digital still camera to create a photo essay on an inquiry-based project. In the process of creating the digital video stories and photo essays, students will learn the basics of pre-planning, photo and video composition, lighting techniques, video and photo capture, editing photos and video, and presenting and distributing these multimedia products. In this class, students will continue to develop their eMINTS portfolios and their classroom web sites. These projects must be completed by the end of student teaching.
For the field experience component of the program, students will be required to complete a practicum within an eMINTS classroom. eMINTS certified students will also be required to do their student teaching in an eMINTS classroom. The professor and supervising teacher will work together to insure the student's success in this endeavor.