Docstoc

University of Alberta's Faculty

Document Sample
University of Alberta's Faculty Powered By Docstoc
					                                                               ATEP Technology Integration Initiative…



                University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education
   Aboriginal Teacher Education Program Technology Integration Initiative:
                      Blue Quills First Nations College
Purpose
        This proposal seeks funding to support and enhance the development of the Faculty of
Education’s Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) through technology integration, in
two ways: 1) Developing innovative leadership in the area of school and classroom level
technology integration to promote student problem-solving, critical thinking, and to support
learners with special needs; and 2) Incorporate online instructional technology to transform
ATEP into a blended learning program to increase accessibility. Note: Blended learning
combines online instruction components with those found in traditional face-to-face instructional
environments.

ATEP Background
        The Aboriginal Teacher Education Program (ATEP) was established by the Faculty of
Education, University of Alberta in 2001. ATEP offers pre-service teacher education programs
to Aboriginal students, in partnership with First Nations and other colleges and local school
authorities. ATEP offers a high quality pre-service teacher education program that meets or
exceeds the academic standards of on-campus offerings of the University. The program operates
on a two year cohort model cycle with an average intake of 18-25 students. Over the past 4 years
35 students have graduated from ATEP, almost all of whom are teaching in their home
communities, and 36 more students will be graduating in 2007 (two separate cohorts operating in
collaboration with Maskwachees Cultural College in Hobbema, and Northern Lakes College in
Slave Lake, Alberta).
        The program seeks, through its staff, curriculum, policies and partners to address barriers
to accessibility for FNMI students. ATEP addresses the goal of geographical accessibility by
offering the program in off-campus locations. Accessibility also refers to learning environments
where the knowledge base, language and culture of a student’s home community is represented
and integrated with the learning. ATEP seeks to deliver community based education that is
reflective of community culture, integrates local concerns and aspirations and is underpinned by
the philosophy that students should feel “at home” in our classrooms.

ATEP Technology Challenges
        ATEP is also committed to an ongoing search for methods, materials and contexts for
learning in pre-service teacher education that are inclusive and supportive of the culture and
aspirations of Aboriginal people. Furthermore ATEP is continuing to evolve to meet the needs of
the Aboriginal community and strives to prepare its students to be active and influential
participants on a national and global level. Continuous advances in technology have produced
new educational tools to support problem-solving, facilitate communication, and provide easy
access to information. ATEP students need to be able to take advantage of these tools in ways
that are comparable to those of our on-campus students. Access to technological
hardware/software and Internet communication has proven to be a challenge over the last several
years given that many ATEP students come from communities (e.g., rural) and home
environments where such technologies are not readily available. Even in cases where the
technology is available students are often lacking access to the associated support structures that


                                                                                                    1
                                                               ATEP Technology Integration Initiative…


allow them to make productive use of the hardware/software and communication tools. This is
especially the case given that most students are coming from geographically disperse areas that
often lack the necessary facilities.
         All pre-service teachers in Alberta are expected to graduate with the necessary skills to
teach with technology, in line with the 2003 provincial curriculum changes that mandate the use
of technology throughout Kindergarten to Grade Twelve—Alberta Education: Information,
Communication and Technology (ICT) program of studies www.education.gov.ab.ca/ict. The
impact of the Alberta ICT curriculum is even more pronounced with ATEP in our next cohort
through Blue Quills First Nations College, since students will be completing a minor in special
education—an area where advances in educational technology are having a tremendous impact
K-12 instruction with tools like Read & Write Gold (to support struggling reading and writing),
Boardmaker or Writing with Symbols (allow students to “write with symbols”, for early literacy
and critical for use by teachers of students with communication disorders/delays and/or autism).
In this context technology is viewed as a tool to enhance and support problem-solving and
communication.
         In order to adequately prepare our ATEP students to meet the challenges around
technology integration we need to provide them with the proper levels of support. To be effective
this support needs to be structured around issues of flexibility, accessibility, technical/software
infrastructure, and instruction.

      Flexibility: Students require an instructional environment that allows them to work with
       hardware/software tools in various configurations to support teaching and learning.
       Typical environments are teacher-centred classrooms, small working groups of two to
       four students working on collaborative projects (problem-based learning exercises), or
       authentic instructional environments where they are working directly with children in
       their community during student teaching or one-on-one instruction. Thus the technology
       must allow for maximum flexibility, be easily configured, and be highly mobile.
      Accessibility: ATEP students are coming from geographically dispersed communities
       and this physical distance directly impacts their ability to actively participate. Technology
       is rapidly overcoming these distance barriers through high-speed wireless access points
       that support increased bandwidth. At the same time new online instructional
       support/delivery systems are becoming readily available, for example, a) asynchronous
       Course Management Systems (e.g., WedCT), b) synchronous peer-to-peer virtual
       classroom technology (e.g., Elluminate, www.elluminate.com ), and c) video
       conferencing. The combination of easy access through wireless and the continuously
       improving online educational technologies create the opportunity for ATEP to be offered
       in a blended instructional format thus increasing accessibility.
      Technical/Software Infrastructure: The increasing storage capacity and computational
       power of laptop technology offers a simple yet easily configurable device that help
       address issues around flexibility (transportability/various software) and access
       (wired/wireless). A laptop also allows for mobile offsite internet via wireless access
       cards, such as the Sierra Wireless AirCard 580 at transfers rates of 40-60 kbps or higher
       access of 600-700 kbps (coverage dependent). Laptops create opportunities for easy
       configuration of classrooms, instructional environments, and are a valuable resource to
       ATEP students during their 13 week student-teaching experience. Ancillary support
       structures include appropriate educational software, a central configurable classroom


                                                                                                    2
                                                              ATEP Technology Integration Initiative…


       space, and additional hardware components (portable projector, digital cameras,
       scanners).
      Instruction: An essential aspect of curriculum technology integration is the ability to
       provide professional development to the instructional staff. Our experience with
       curriculum technology integration within the Faculty of Education has shown that for
       students to adequately embrace technology our instructional staff must feel comfortable
       in teaching and learning with technology. Instructors teaching with technology in the
       ATEP will require professional development support to successfully function in an e-
       learning/e-pedagogy environment.

ATEP 2007-2009 Cohort
        ATEP operates on a two year intake cycle. The current cohorts are completing their
requirements this summer and the next cohort is set to begin operating in the fall 2007 based out
of Blue Quills First Nations College (located just outside the town of St. Paul, Alberta). We
expect about 22-24 Aboriginal students for this cohort. Students will be drawn from geographic
locations throughout northeast Alberta. Previous experiences with other cohorts indicate that
student participation and retention rates are directly linked to issues around commuting,
communication, access to library materials, classroom resources, instructional and financial
support. The cultural support provided by the College is one of the strengths of the program.
Therefore it is imperative that the introduction of technology is aligned with the needs of the
students and the college.
        The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education has been working in close collaboration
with Blue Quills First Nations College in preparation for the next two year cycle. Such
preparation includes the identification and hiring of appropriate instructors, the development of
curriculum materials, and the planning for individual course delivery. A major part of this
preparation process is to secure adequate resources to address the challenges posed by the
necessity for technology integration.
        The University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education has long been a leader in area of
curriculum technology integration and alternative delivery programs. The design, development
and implementation of ATEP represent one example of this leadership. Other examples include
our blended delivery graduate programs, e.g., school/classroom-based Technology Integration,
and our introduction to the University of Alberta campus of Elluminate®. In order to serve all of
our preservice students at the highest level of relevance and pedagogy, and at the same time
maintain and grow our leadership capabilities in ATEP we are seeking support for the following:
     technology for students and instructors
     internet access for students
     software
     Professional development for instructors and students




                                                                                                   3
                                                           ATEP Technology Integration Initiative…




ATEP: Blended Learning Initiative
Hardware                                                    Months             Cost
Laptops                                  27    $1,200.00                       $32,400.00
Laptops cases                            27      $50.00                          $1,350.00
Wireless Cards                           20     $199.00                          $3,980.00
Wireless accounts                        20      $85.00              20         $34,000.00
Headsets                                 27      $20.00                            $540.00
Graphics tablets                         27      $85.00                          $2,295.00
Scanners                                 3      $120.00                            $360.00
Web Cams                                 27      $50.00                          $1,350.00
Security Cables                          27      $20.00                            $540.00
Digital Video Cameras                    2      $600.00                          $1,200.00
Digital Still pictures Cameras           2      $300.00                            $600.00
wireless/wired lab configuration
(desks, wireless/wired, power outlets)   1      $10,000                         $10,000.00
1 GB Memory Stick Back-up                27      $50.00                          $1,350.00
BQ Server for back-up                    1     $4,000.00                         $4,000.00
Projector                                1      $800.00                            $800.00


Software
MS office                                27      $65.00                          $1,755.00
Special Education                             $15,000.00                        $15,000.00

Professional Development
Student training                                                                 $2,500.00
Instructor training                                                              $8,500.00


Miscellaneous (books, paper, CDs)                                                $1,000.00
                                                                              $123,520.00


In kind
WebCT (Asynchronous)
Elluminate (Synchronous)
Division of Technology in Education
Technical Support
Professional Development e-Pedagogy
Administrative Support




                                                                                                4