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   from the issue of October 13, 2005

  ITLE-funded program aims to better connect educators with new generation of students

Workshops offer tech lessons to faculty


A series of interactive workshops will turn educators into students of cutting edge classroom technology.

And, when the five-part project - titled "Preparing Intentional Students Using Technology" - wraps up in fall 2006, organizers believe those who take part will be better prepared to communicate and educate today's tech-savvy students.

"The students of today are pretty sophisticated when it comes to technology, more so than faculty," said Charles Ansorge, professor of Educational Psychology and one of four project organizers. "We want to create an environment where we can train faculty to better use technologies we have, allowing them to become more effective teachers."

Funded by a $25,000 Initiative for Teaching and Learning Excellence grant, the project begins Nov. 1 with a workshop focused on Blackboard, presented by Melissa Anderson. The event will also include a presentation on intentional learners by Rita Kean, dean of Undergraduate Studies.

"Intentional learners are those who adapt to new environments, are informed, integrate knowledge across a wide spectrum and can deal with unscripted problems," Ansorge said. "These are different than students who have come to UNL in past years. And, we want our faculty to be better prepared to communicate effectively with them."

The concept of reaching intentional learners was first identified by the UNL Transition to University Taskforce, chaired by Kean. The taskforce's report was titled, "Everyone a Learner, Everyone a Teacher."

"We have a level of maturity for using technology in the classroom and we want to move that up," Ansorge said. "The best example to describe it is 10 percent of the iceberg has been exposed and 90 percent is below. We want to explore that 90 percent."

Others joining Ansorge in leading the project are Linda Pratt, English; Paul Erickson, Information Services; and Marie Barber, Education, Extension and Outreach.

The first workshop begins at 1 p.m. Nov. 1 in the Nebraska Union.

Other seminars include: Jan. 6 - An all-day event held in cooperation with the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources' faculty development workshop; March 3 - Shirley Waterhouse, director of Educational Technology at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and president of eLearnGlobal, a consulting practice focusing on elearning initiatives; the week of May 8 - A day event with a team from the National Center for Academic Transformation; and in the fall 2006 - Wrap-up event focused on bringing together ideas of the seminars and a forum on how those concepts are being used in UNL classrooms.

Ansorge said the group is anticipating a cohort of 50 to 75 faculty members to attend each event.

"This is about creating exciting learning environments for our students," Ansorge said. "We have the tools available here at UNL to accomplish that. We just need to take time to develop the use of them."

For more information on the workshops, contact Ansorge at 472-1702 or, or Owen Day at 472-2385.

Preparing Intentional Students Using Technology

The first workshop in the series will focus on how faculty can use Blackboard to the full extent. Rita Kean will also present information on intentional learners.

1 p.m. Nov. 1 in the Nebraska Union (room posted)



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