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The university hosted its fifth annual EdTech Day, where more than 160 teachers from the region came together for workshops based on using technology in the classroom, specifically with group projects and collaborative learning.
[b](See below story for a full video of Dr. Steven Park's keynote address.)[/b]
"EdTech Day is for instructors who want to get more out of technology in their teaching, and to gather and share their expertise," said [b]Reid Kimball[/b], Teaching and Technology Center's faculty support specialist, who organizes the event each year with [b]Eric LePage[/b], director of the TTC. "Participants always take away a new technology resource found, a new teaching strategy learned, or a new colleague made."
Keynote speaker Dr. Steven Park, who teaches U.S. history and maritime studies at the University of Connecticut, delivered his talk, "Collaborative Technologies and the 21st Century University: Knowledge Creation and Exchange for the Next Generation."
The lecture focused on benefits of collaboration in the decision-making process, inside and outside the classroom, and how colleges and universities can best deal with collaborative technologies.
Research has shown students learn and function better in group environments and certain technologies can bring students together, said Dr. Park. However, no matter the technology used, teachers must ensure group projects spur synergy and collaboration, not more independent work among the students. "The whole of the outfit must be greater than the sum of its parts," he said.
A number of workshops led by BSU faculty and staff focused on using technology for unique collaborative learning experiences, such as online role-playing games in the classroom. Other sessions focused on technology as a tool for social justice and teaching vocabulary, as well as ways to reduce online cheating.
Faculty and staff from other state higher education institutions led a number of workshops on such topics as instructional iPad apps, free online learning tools, and ways to enhance communication in online classrooms.
"Collaboration was our theme this year, and I think we really made that a reality for our attendees and presenters," said Mr. Kimball.
Mr. LePage mirrored the sentiments of his colleague. "The event was a wonderful demonstration of the collaborative spirit of sharing that we have in the commonwealth," he said.
Attendees hailed from institutions of the CONNECT collaborative: BSU, Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, Massasoit Community College, and University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. (Rob Matheson, '07, G '12, University Advancement; video by Moakley TV Studio)
Dr. Steven Park delivers his keynote address on collaborative learning and technology.