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Aspiring Teachers Take on Technology

Mt. San Antonio College student Cole Farnsworth wants to be a high school history teacher and basketball coach. But teaching children how to use technology in the classroom intimidated him.

His anxiety eased after University of La Verne’s “Tech Camp” – a workshop that ran Aug. 9-11 for students who want to get ahead of the game before entering teaching programs.

“I see that it is very beneficial in the classroom to engage the tech generation,” he said.

Professor of Education Technology John Bartelt and his wife, Linda Bartelt, an adjunct professor at both University of La Verne and Citrus College, lead the camp. It is funded through a $3.5 million federal grant called Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers Today Through Technology, or PT5.

The camp is also connected to the growing Bring Your Own Technology movement, which embraces students’ use of personal devices in the classroom, rather than banning it.

“The level of engagement you’ll be getting from your students will change,” Linda Bartelt told camp participants.

The camp drew 25 students from Mt. SAC, Citrus, Chaffey and Cerritos Colleges, as well as some undergraduates from the University of La Verne. University graduate students already enrolled in teaching programs also attended, hoping to learn something new.

From QR codes to classroom flipping – a concept in which homework takes place at school and lectures at home via video – attendees experimented with software on iPads, cell phones and laptops to learn how to incorporate them into teaching.

Senior Christina Bryant, an educational studies major who works at a private day care and elementary school in San Dimas, sees the benefit of technology use.

“This is more engaging than having them just stare at you in the classroom,” Bryant said. “You’re helping them use the devices that we used to always tell them they can’t use.”

Associate Professor of Education Dr. Donna Redman, who leads the Educational Studies program, said the camp and University of La Verne’s Transfer Admission Guarantee agreement with Citrus College, have boosted enrollment among Citrus graduates pursuing education and child development degrees. Enrollment tripled between 2012 and 2015.

“It’s a great opportunity for Citrus students to interact with our faculty and know what to expect if they transfer here,” Redman said.

She added that familiarity with technology is a must for any student pursuing a teaching career.

“In a K-12 classroom now, technology is infused from pre-kindergarten,” she said.