Engaging all learners

DSC_0157[1].JPG

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 29, 2015) – Classrooms have evolved greatly from the days of blackboards…

Georgia (Oct 27, 2015)

KENNESAW, Ga. (Oct. 29, 2015) – Classrooms have evolved greatly from the days of blackboards and chalk, and recent advances in technology have given teachers a range of tools to help support diverse learners, whether they are English Language Learners, students with disabilities or students learning on grade level.

Teacher candidates in the Bagwell College of Education at Kennesaw State University learn about these tools in their instructional technology courses, but they soon will have access to a model classroom where they can get hands on experience with the latest technology, including an $8,000 “ActivTable” recently donated by Promethean Inc. Presented by Angie Tatum of Promethean and Peter Oswalt of  PowerUpEDU, the ActivTable offers more than 200 activities, including sequencing, sorting and categorization, labeling, timelines and pairing. It empowers students to lead their own learning, which drives engagement, participation and creativity in the classroom.

Up to six students at a time can work on interactive activities created by the teacher or teachers can access more than 100 ready-made activities.

It is the first piece of equipment in the new Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Lab Model Classroom.

“Our goal for the model classroom is for all teacher candidates to know about the possibilities of infusing technology and UDL to support diverse learners,” said Jill Williams, senior lecturer of special education. “We want to expose our candidates to the wide variety of technologies that can open doors for their future students.”

The model classroom is the result of a unique collaboration between Bagwell’s Department of Instructional Technology and the college’s Department of Inclusive Education. Together, they are working with area school districts, as well as the Georgia Department of Education, other Kennesaw State departments and vendors who sell the latest technology to equip the classroom.

“Historically when new teachers arrive in the classroom they do not know how to use technology effectively to engage learners,” said Helen Maddox, instructional technology coach. “We’re preparing our students to know how to use and integrate a variety of instructional technology that’s out in the districts and classrooms now.”

Once thought of as “add-ons,” courses in instructional technology and diversity now run throughout the curriculum, and each goes beyond assistive technology for students with disabilities.

“We want our teacher candidates to see meeting all students’ needs as part of their mission,” Maddox said. “That diverse population will be in their classrooms. Teachers need to use the technology to meet the students’ needs and use the technology to give all students access to the curriculum.”

Maddox and Williams are hoping to have the lab fully equipped with the most current high-tech and low-tech technology by January. Among the needs are six to eight laptops and desktop computers, for which they already have the software. Promethean also donated software licenses for all computers, students and faculty in the Bagwell College valued at $200,000.

“We want to make this lab available to professors in every department in the Bagwell College of Education so they can provide their students with an opportunity to experience how technology can be used to support all learners,” Williams said.

– Jennifer Hafer

Photo by: Connie Lane



A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 38,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.

©