October 25, 2013 – Rather than locking tablets and smart phones away during the school day, the Friday Institute’s Digital Learning Collaborative (DLC) encourages educators to use technology to support student-centered learning and teaching. On Oct. 15-16, over 100 technology leaders from 14 North Carolina Golden Leaf funded schools and districts attended the DLC’s fifth annual Technology Leader Institute (TLI) to build capacity around digital tools and resources and become leaders supporting digital initiatives.
“We primarily focused on providing new and innovative ideas for those who are serving in support roles in digital learning environments,” Emmy Coleman, Co-Director of the DLC, said. “The fast-paced format allowed more session offerings, networking, and ‘from the field’ sharing opportunities than ever before. Everyone left with an overflowing toolbox of resources to take back and implement.”
Designed as a customizable professional development experience, the TLI offered not only standard workshops, but also a number of informal table talks. Participants were invited to personalize their learning experience by selecting in advance larger group sessions to attend, with the recommendation that districts “divide and conquer” to get the most out of the two Institute days. This approach allowed for a wide variety of topics to be experienced in a short period of time.
“The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive,” Jaclyn Bell, a DLC Research Associate, said. “Participants really appreciated the opportunity to learn in a one-on-one setting, as well as in the larger groups.”
The topics covered included standard project-based learning applications as well as the most recent and innovative uses of QR codes in the classroom, augmented reality auras and applications, and best practices for assessing student creativity in a media-saturated world. Sessions offered both web-based and mobile resources and applications to support multiple devices.
“As a school-based Instructional Technology Facilitator, I need to be constantly trying to stay one step ahead. Events like the Technology Leader Institute help me do that,” Tina Webster, an ITF at Asheboro High School, said.
The institute was created primarily for administrators, instructional technology facilitators, instructional specialists, media specialists and technology-driven content area teachers from all grade levels. Twelve guest facilitators offered their expertise and shared their experiences in digital learning with participants.
To learn more about the DLC, please visit dlc.fi.ncsu.edu