Skill #2: How to Effectively Infuse Creativity

One of the course projects is Critical Medial Literacy: What Would Maria Montessori Say about the iPad – Theoretical Frameworks for Children’s Interactive Media. Students role play a panel discussion so as to provide theoretical frameworks for children’s interactive media.

The panelist includes Piaget, Skinner, Montessori, and Vygotsky, with Fred Roger being the moderator. Each panelist will be asked to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of using technology–tablets and interactive media–with young children and bring examples of apps to support their theories.

Video: Role Play: What Would Montessori, Piaget, or Vygotsky Say about iPad?

As Alexis wrote, “Our Critical Media Literacy project may have been our best exhibition of creativity. Media literacy is a combination of technology and literacy in an engaging and interactive format. For this project we needed combine theory and technology. Our product was an interesting spin on the family game show family feud known as Theorist Feud.”

Skill #3: Honing Reflection and Ownership

“In creating the aesthetics and format of my ePortfolio, I was able to take ownership of my educational career. Every link, drop down menu, and file attachment demonstrates the hard work and dedication that I put in as a SUNY Cortland student and as an educator. As shown in the different menus, I have about me, diversity, technology, self-reflection and various other elements. In the world of education, there is no one more successful than a self-reflective teacher. Along with the ability to reflect, you must be able to take a diverse group of students, add a dash of technology and chunk of assessment to create a welcoming, inclusive environment,” said Alexis. (A screenshot of Alexis’s ePortfolio is shown below in Figure 3.)

Figure 3: Students Sharing Learning Journey through ePortfolio

Alexis submitted a proposal for Transformations (2016) –  A Student Research and Creativity Conference. The proposal was accepted and she shared her exemplary works with audience of faculty and students.

Today's #teachers are learning soft #skills like #creativity and #lifelong learning

Here is the abstract of her presentation at Transformation (2016)–A Student Research and Creativity Conference: “Through making an ePortfolio for a technology integration course (EDU315 Critical Medial Literacy), I have recorded a learning journey of my professional development and personal growth. An Early childhood and Childhood Education Major, I have designed an esthetically appealing ePortoflio where I showcase classroom learning activities I have learned to create for elementary school children and my learning through field experience. More importantly, I have made introspection and reflection on my learning process – and product. Through sharing process and products of my ePortfolio, I would like to explore with audience ways to infuse creativity, reflection and ownership into my own students’ learning in my future elementary classrooms.”

Final Thoughts

Teachers of the 21st Century must deal with previously unanticipated challenges in an era where rapid technology change, both in the use of the old and the development of the new, is the norm. Old and even new technologies come and go. Our college teacher training in terms of technology use needs to be proactive instead of being responsive or reactive.

Often than not, technology is being used not for its intrinsic value, but for its short-term value as superficially impressive “bells and whistles” to either cater to mandated policies or to create the semblance of keeping pace with technological development.

What we need to strive to do in our teacher educations programs is to make tech-savvy teacher candidates who are technically competent in tools and who have the mindset and capabilities to actively, innovatively and meaningfully integrate technology into elementary classrooms to enhance children’s learning.

Learning how to learn so as to become a life-long learner; infusing creativity; taking a learning journey as a reflective learner are only a few learning experiences we would like to share with readers for further discussion.

Acknowledgement

Thanks go to Karlene Anderson, Stacey Backstrom, Gretchen Krzykowski, Elizabeth Moshkowski, and Alexis Vilceus from EDU315 classes for their contribution.

About the Author:

Shufang Shi Strause is an associate professor of Educational Technology in the Childhood/Early Childhood Education Department at the State University of New York at Cortland (SUNY Cortland). Dr. Shi is a prolific author of journal articles, book chapters and books in the field of educational technology, teacher training and international education. She has received multiple research grants and frequently presents at local, national, and international conferences.