Innovate to Educate Entry
Andrew Bobal, Instructional Technologist
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|Using Zoom to Connect Virtually at Widener University|
What innovative technology initiative or project are you most proud of, and how has it improved teaching and learning in your school/district?At Widener University School of Nursing we have multiple technology initiatives that have improved learning for our students. Specifically, we are extremely proud of our Zoom Video initiative. Zoom has allowed us to reach our learners like never before. Teaching and learning have improved dramatically by providing a resource for collaborative conversations from anywhere at any time. Faculty are able to meet with students at a moment's notice, even from around the world. When completing an assignment, students can work collaboratively virtually to complete course work. Furthermore, when reviewing an assessment instructors provide reteaching opportunities outside of normal class time. This initiative has given our students a great sense of involvement in their learning and it has provided faculty and staff with a 21st century way of communication.
What were some of the biggest challenges to your initiative, and how did you meet those challenges?With any new initiatives in any work environment, there comes challenges and successes. At Widener School of Nursing we focus on identifying those challenges and then working systematically to turn them into successes. One of the biggest challenges that came with our Zoom initiative was the introduction and how-to of the application itself. We met this challenge by offering on site professional development sessions to learning about the operation of the application. We also offered mock Zoom sessions, these were collaborative sessions with faculty and staff on the actual application. This allowed everybody to view the user and host controls with navigation through the many features that are built into the application. Another challenge was the integration into our already developed courses and curriculum. Faculty and staff met this challenge in different ways, from integrating Zoom sessions instead of sit down class time to offering virtual office hours to students who couldn't make it to campus. Finally, one of the biggest challenges was providing trouble shooting support during the sessions. Because this was a new tool for all stakeholders, there were and are multiple opportunities where stakeholders had trouble connecting or audio/video options weren't operating correctly. We combated these problems by providing instructional resources to all stakeholders and making sure our Instructional Technologist was available to everyone to answer questions and concerns as they occur.
What are the three biggest components that need to be in place for tech innovation to succeed are:
Strategies and tools for incorporating the technology into the already developed curriculum and scope.
|Providing ongoing support and guidance for the ed-tech innovation.|
|Willingness to try new innovations and technology tools.|