The days when a piece of chalk and a chalkboard were all an instructor needed to teach reading, writing and arithmetic are long gone.
The University”s School of Education has teamed up with Apple Computer, Inc. to give K-12 teachers an introduction on how to incorporate the Internet and iMacs into their curriculums to help students learn.
“Apple”s real goal is to reach out to teachers and to show them what is possible with technology in their classrooms and to provide them (with) the training that they so desperately need,” said Cyndy Everest-Bouch, Apple”s training and development manager.
The five-day Teacher”s Institute, held at the School of Education as part of a group of conferences across the continent this summer, brings more than 100 teachers to Ann Arbor. Each participant is loaned an Apple iBook, which is connected to a wireless web.
Over the course of the conference, the teachers go to workshops to learn how to take advantage of various applications, such as iMovies and digital microscopes. The people heading the workshops are teachers themselves and can offer first-hand information about how the programs are relevant to the classroom.
One member of the Apple team is a Stanford University student who offers a unique perspective on how the use of technology in the classroom can benefit students and how students can coach and mentor teachers, Everest-Bouch said.
Training teachers will enable them to aid their students in “developing the 21st century skills they will need,” she added.
In addition to providing the physical space for the event, the School of Education”s faculty will present their perspectives on technology in education.
Ron Miller, the school”s computer systems consultant, said the University and School of Education Dean Karen Wixson have been supportive of the institute. Its direct impact is helping teachers and students, but hosting the institute allows the school to expand outreach and make contact, he said.
When the teachers leave tomorrow they will relinquish their iBooks, but Apple hopes they will retain the information they learned as well as the partnerships they forged with other educators.
Nebraska resident Jerry Wylie, who teaches at the American School of Doha in Qatar, said he has made new friendships at the institute and has used it to compare notes on what is going on across the country and around the world.
Wylie said he deals with elementary school children, and the workshops provide information in working with all age groups in a variety of subjects. “Every minute has been worth it,” he said.
Michigan should have the means to take advantage of the technology, thanks to the Teacher Technology Initiative, which has spent $108 million to date to provide every teacher in the state with a laptop said Jeff Jones, who works in Apple”s marketing division.
The University of California-Los Angeles, the University of British Columbia, the University of South Florida, the University of Texas, Lesley University and Northwestern University were among the other schools selected to host the Teacher”s Institute this summer.
“Michigan has always been a leader in technology and education,” Jones said.
The summer sessions offer teachers a chance to immerse themselves in technology, something that is not possible during the school year, Everest-Bouch said. The initiatives have been “highly successful,” she said, but added that there are no formal plans for a similar series next year.