In a recent class, Assistant Professor of Education Dr. Georgann Toop used teleconference technology with her pre-service teaching students in the master of arts in teaching program to collaborate via Skype with a group of fifth-grade students at Clark Creek Elementary School STEM Academy.
“These master-level education students were able to observe students in a STEM lab completing robotics lessons,” Toop said.
Clark Creek Principal Dr. Jennifer Scrivner said the experience was part of a longstanding partnership between CCSD and Reinhardt and allowed Clark Creek students to demonstrate model STEM classrooms.
In addition, Clark Creek and the other three STEM Academies in Cherokee will also gain from the relationship, Scrivner said.
“We hope to leverage the expertise of Reinhardt faculty in the areas of science and mathematics to advise our leadership team on best practices at the elementary level,” Scrivner said. “We also hope to partner on parent information nights and teacher professional development.”
Toop, a former CCSD principal, said the hour-long session allowed her students to observe and ask questions of the elementary students as they constructed their robotics projects. Also, the Clark Creek teachers and students shared their expertise on STEM concepts and real-world applications.
Toop said her pre-service teachers were in awe of the elementary school students’ mechanical design, construction, programming and collaborative teamwork skills in robotics.
“I felt it was critical for the pre-service students to keep up with the current changes that are taking place in technology and science education that are offered in so few schools thus far,” Toop said.
In the new Acworth school’s first year, Clark Creek students have already made several uses for what the school district calls its “global classroom” technology to teleconference with representatives from NASA and schoolchildren in Ghana.
Scrivner said her students, some of whom participate in the school’s award-winning RoboHawks robotics team, love to show off their robotics expertise and have enjoyed questions from the pre-service teachers.
“It has been engaging for students and gives them an opportunity with a real audience to share student work and projects,” Scrivner said.
The integration of technological skills play a pivotal role in all students’ lives, Toop said, so she has embraced the idea of allowing her students to bring their own learning devices to the classroom and has begun incorporating more technology into her courses.
“In order for our Reinhardt graduates to be successful in the workforce, we must provide them experiences with more advanced technology so that they, along with K-12 grade students, will be prepared for successful participation in our 21st century global society,” she said.
Approved by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Professional Standards Commission, the MAT program in early childhood education at Reinhardt is now taking applications.
The program is designed for college graduates with undergraduate degrees in fields other than education who are planning a career in the teaching profession and are seeking initial certification.
Classes are offered online or in an evening classroom setting at both the main campus in Waleska and north Fulton. Students complete two classes during each eight-week session for a total of 12 credit hours per semester.
The program takes three semesters to complete coursework and an additional semester of full-time student teaching.
For information about the master of arts in teaching program, contact Reinhardt at (770)720-5526 or to apply, visit www.rein hardt.edu/mat.