Elizabeth Montiel-Alvarado, Campus Carrier staff writer

The Creative Technology Program has introduced an elective course for those interested in education and technology. CRT 340 Methods in Technology Education, will focus on allowing Berry students to develop their own skills by teaching children concepts in technology and engineering. 

“The goal is actually stemmed from an increased demand in the need to be able to train the future teachers who will go into kindergarten through twelfth grade and be able to teach technology and engineering curriculum,” Zane Cochran, clinical assistant professor of Creative Technologies said.

Technology as a field is constantly evolving, which means that technology curriculums are constantly. Therefore it is important that teachers have up-to-date knowledge that they can pass on to their students. 

 “For us it made sense to offer a class like this, where we can speak to those specific demands and get students prepared for interactions and careers they may want to engage in when they graduate,” Cochran said. 

Similar to Berry College’s Teacher Education Program, students will be doing field work. However instead of going offsite to various elementary and middle schools in the Rome area, they will be working with Berry College Elementary and Middle School (BCEMS). 

“We thought we would leverage the close relationship we have with Berry College elementary and middle school and actually have those kids come down to Hackberry,” Cochran said.

Since this course will be in the afternoon from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., it will be a part of BCEMS’ selection of afternoon programs. 

“We are structuring this as an afterschool program for their kids, were specially targeting students from fourth to eighth grade,” Cochran said. 

Those who participate will be called the Hackberry Voyagers. 

The close relationship between the voyagers and the Hackberry students will improve the learning experiences for both sides. Especially since for many of the students taking this course, this will be their first time interacting and teaching kids one on one. 

“We thought that would be a really unique matching to have both of those groups at the same time building some really cool technology,” Cochran said. 

The first field experience will be on Feb. 1. There will be 21 berry students in the course, broken up into pairs. Each pair will also get two BCEMS students to make groups of four. Instead of working in a traditional classroom environment, Berry students will aim to guide, help, and inspire the kids. 

“The structure that were taking on is something called cooperative design that means that while my students will be prepared with lots of information and lessons, really what they’re going to be doing is working together as a group of four to walk through a structured design process to take on an engineering challenge,” Cochran said. 

Ultimately, at the end of the course the BCEMS students will be expected to participate in Hackberry’s prototyping open house. This is a tradition where creative technology and hackberry students get to present their works to the public. 

“Those fourth to eighth graders are going to get to talk to all sorts of people about what it was like coming and building at hackberry lab and taking on those technology and engineering challenges we have prepared for them,” Cochran said.

This course is also a prerequisite to a study abroad program in Norway called Educational Technologies Abroad. 

“I’m most excited to be able to go to Norway because I’m very used to teaching and mentoring people under the educational culture in the Unites States,” Sydney Brown, secondary education and creative technologies major said.

 With the experiences gathered in this course, students will be able to use and expand their knowledge in another country. 

“It’s really interesting to see how it can be different there, not just education, but their tech is different so we find ways to teach their tech versus the way that we teach it here,” Brown said. 

This course also benefits in helping students gather experience in teaching that they may not have had the opportunity to do so pre-graduation. 

“I was really excited to get the experience in the classroom since you don’t usually get that as an education major until later on down the road,” Summer Vaughn, Secondary Education and Creative Technologies Major said.

Since secondary education and creative technology double majors are not very common, this course was a great opportunity for those interested. 

“I think it’s awesome that they have this class because usually I’m taking two different classes, CRT or education, so I’m glad its merged,” Vaughn said. 

In addition to this course’s concept, there are plans to develop a major for those interested in technology and education. 

“Right now, we are in the process of developing a dual major that would allow students to study both creative technology and education,” Cochran said.

Posted by Campus Carrier

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