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A course to help teachers make the most of technology

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Meenoo Rami Science Leadership Academy teacher and author Meenoo Rami wants to help teachers adapt to a more technological world, where everyday learning has extended beyond the traditional classroom. She’ll have that chance when she begins teaching a course on "connected learning" at Arcadia University this summer.

The six-week course, “Teacher Practice in a Connected World,” aims to help teachers nurture themselves as educators and rediscover their passion for instructing.

It’s about “repositioning yourself as a learner and a teacher,” said Rami, who wrote Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re) Invigorate Your Teaching, a book about her journey from feeling like a disempowered, exhausted teacher to rediscovering her passion for her profession. She hopes her book will inspire and empower teachers to empower their students in the classroom.

The course that Rami will teach is one of several offered in a four-course teacher certification program at Arcadia on “connected learning,” which she, along with Christina Cantrill of the National Writing Project and Dr. Kira J. Baker-Doyle, an Arcadia professor, started developing in summer 2013.

Connected learning encompasses technology, online publishing tools, and social networks to help teachers share best practices, encourage each another, and create meaningful learning experiences for their students.

“[Connected learning is] really trying to understand what it means to be a learner in a connected world and how educators can really leverage those technologies to give an equitable and exciting learning experience,” said Baker-Doyle.

Rami said that she and her colleagues started the certification program after realizing the impact that technology has had in the education sector and on teachers, students, and the classroom environment.

Rami said that she hopes the teachers who take her class will “learn about each other’s work, so they can share best practices.”

Baker-Doyle said she hopes the program will get teachers to think more critically and allow them to give their students more meaningful learning experiences, inside and outside the classroom, through the use of online publishing tools, social media, and other technologies.

The three hope they move teachers to use the Internet, smartphones, and other technologies in their curriculums.

Along with the program, teachers will also be able to take advantage of week-long, one-credit Connected Learning Camps that will specialize in topics such as digital storytelling, gamification, and more.

Five scholarships are being offered for the program, which is sponsored by the Rendell Center for Citizenship and Civics. The scholarship requires a simple application. The deadline to submit an application is April 24. The Connected Learning program will run from May 19 to June 25.

Jeseamy Muentes is an intern at the Notebook.

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