Future teachers will graduate with top skills in the latest technology for learning, thanks to a $150,000 grant received by the College of Education and Professional Studies at UW-Whitewater.
The grant from the Wisconsin Technology Initiative will equip a remodeled laboratory in Winther Hall with interactive whiteboards, student-response systems and other examples of today's technology already common in Wisconsin classrooms.
"It's exciting, and the time is right," said Katy Heyning, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. "We're investing in students, we're investing in faculty and we're investing in the building."
Also supported with nearly $156,000 in matching funds from the college, the technology project has created a fellowship program to allow faculty members to improve their skills with interactive technology. The college is also offering new courses intended to produce student technology experts.
"I really want students to get involved and help us learn more," Heyning said. "I want students to be able to take the lead and show us what needs to change in the college."
She expects the active collaboration laboratory to open in March, offering "one of everything" in its first-floor space in Winther Hall. The remodeling project includes upgrading two small labs nearby.
Interactive whiteboards are large display screens that are connected to a computer and a projector. Teachers or students can use special pens or their fingers to manipulate the display.
New technology will enable UW-Whitewater students and faculty members to learn from observing classroom teaching with, for example, two-way video conferencing and recording. Technology also will help the college in its professional development partnerships with school districts and educators.
It's a natural evolution for teacher preparation at UW-Whitewater, which was founded in 1868 as a teachers college and now graduates more new state teachers than any other Wisconsin university. Just as calculators replaced slide rules and computers supplanted typewriters, today's interactive technology is changing the way students learn to be teachers.
"When they graduate they're going to have the tools they need to teach in classrooms across Wisconsin," Heyning said.