K-12 Mobile Learning Training Program Underway

Posted August 15, 2011 ABILENE, TX – The best teachers are always learning - always willing to be students themselves. Abilene Christian University (ACU) launched the K-12 Digital Learning Institute in July to train K-12 teachers in using mobile technology to support their lessons. The training program was funded with a portion of a $1.8 million contribution AT&T* made to ACU to expand the university’s mobile-learning initiative.

Equipped with 21st-century teaching skills, educational resources and the support of colleagues in their field, these teachers will be better prepared to enter their classrooms this month. Dozens of teachers ranging from kindergarten to high school will be able to more fully integrate tablet devices, laptops and other mobile technologies into their lessons.  

A new generation of mobile devices is changing the education landscape, offering students opportunities for dynamic, individualized learning.

“Schools realize that the key to successful technology and innovation programs is to not only train their teachers to meet the needs of today’s students, but provide follow-up and support for months following the initial training,” said Dr. Billie McConnell, 2011 K-12 Digital Learning Institute Director. “Even in a tight budget year, the Institute is full. Districts realize these are the skills that students need to enter the ever-changing world they will enter as adults.”

“It is very common to attend a workshop that gives the ingredients for success in whatever topic is being addressed,” said Bryan Bruning, K-12 Digital Learning Institute participant who teaches at Abilene Cooper High School.  “What makes this workshop unique and so successful for implementing technology into our classrooms is that we are also given the recipe, or how to successfully apply and use those ingredients.”

“Mobile broadband is transforming education - powering the devices and digital textbooks that are personalizing the learning experience where students can actively participate in the learning process, bringing information in real time,” said Xavier Williams, Senior Vice President of Public Sector and Healthcare at AT&T. “ACU’s K-12 Digital Learning Institute empowers teachers to feel comfortable with mobile technology and new media, so they can take lessons learned into their own classrooms to increase student engagement and collaboration.”

"It's not about the technology." Bob Murphy, Westlake High School.

ACU’s K-12 Digital Learning Institute trains teachers to use mobile technology to incorporate project-based learning in their classrooms. This approach is designed to answer a question or solve a problem and generally reflects the types of learning and work people do in the everyday world outside the classroom. The Institute emphasizes technology usage to develop the National Educational Technology Standards such as higher-order thinking skills, innovation, communication, collaboration, research fluency, and digital citizenship.

Approximately 150 teachers completed the summer session of the first K-12 Digital Learning Institute. The weeklong, open forum training sessions were held on the ACU campus. Facilitators started the week leading conversations about technology in education, then moved to formal training sessions on integrating technology into lessons. The week culminated with teacher presentations using a technology product and a lesson incorporating project-based learning.

Throughout the year, K-12 Digital Learning Institute facilitators will support each teacher by observing them in their classrooms, helping with lesson plans, offering encouragement, helping the teachers set goals and evaluating progress.

Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OYgPyjiEr90 to hear comments from participants about ACU’s 2011 K-12 Digital Learning Institute summer sessions.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.