ACU Connected, K-12 Professional Development Focus of TEA Documentary

Posted September 29, 2011

Abilene Christian University’s mobile learning program, ACU Connected, is the focus of a documentary on education preparation programs making an impact with 21st century learning commissioned by the Texas Education Agency (TEA).

The series comprises five videos documenting practices in ACU's College of Education and Human Services.

The first video, “ACU's Mobile-Learning Initiative Model of Innovation," showcases the university's pioneering campus-wide technology integration effort as well as ACU's "Digital Learning Institute," which trains K-12 educators to shift from tools that focus on consumption to tools that enable creation.

The series describes how ACU trains teacher candidates to inspire students to engage in critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and "ownership of their learning" as well as preparing teacher candidates for the reality of integrating technology in the classroom. The video "Researching the Benefits of Project-Based Learning" tells about research results that would have not been possible without digital technology.

In the final video of the series, ACU faculty members explain how their program prepares teacher candidates to integrate the principles of 21st-century learning into their curriculum, and then guides them through an evaluation process including not only state standards, but also qualities such as authenticity and relevance.

"We have made a commitment to prepare our teacher candidates for both the classrooms of today and the classrooms of tomorrow," says Dana Kennamer Pemberton, Ph.D., professor of teacher education at ACU. "This requires the ability to problem solve and an openness to thinking in new ways. Meaningful technology integration is obviously an important aspect of this preparation."

In 2010 TEA's POWER ON TEXAS documentary showcased promising practices of technology integration in Texas school districts. Following that project, the TEA decided to focus on education preparation programs, and selected ACU for its 2011 campaign so other education preparation programs could model it.