Erikson’s TEC Center recently hosted a summer faculty symposium along with the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network and Early Learning Collaborative (HITN/ELC).

As part of a U.S. Department of Education Ready to Learn Grant, HITN/ELC is developing a Higher Education Partnership Initiative to look at how to prepare teachers of young children to use digital media in the classroom.

The symposium brought together a group of 12 distinguished early childhood faculty members involved in professional preparation from a range of institutions around the country:

  • Pacific University
  • Illinois State University
  • Carlow University
  • Rutgers University
  • Council for Professional Recognition
  • University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Attendees learned about existing approaches to teacher training and professional development in the field of early childhood, and had conversations to develop a vision of improved approaches in the digital age.

Erikson’s faculty perspectives on integrating technology

Erikson faculty and staff shared perspectives on how Erikson has begun integrating technology into its teacher training courses, with presentations from Professor Gillian McNamee, senior instructor Mary Hynes-Berry, and TEC Center program coordinator Amanda Armstrong.

Teacher preparation faculty who grew up in the pre-digital age need to be able to reach students today where they are, and that includes using new technologies. “Today’s new technology is like the printing press,” McNamee said. “The way knowledge today is redistributed throughout civilization is mind-blowing.”

As they develop Erikson’s online programs, faculty also continue their own learning by exploring new ways of reaching students, with the help of instructional and web designers.

No matter what the technology is, faculty need tools to be able to know what students are learning. “We need to build dynamic ways to learn what people hear, or we don’t know if we’re good enough,” Hynes-Berry said.