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Milligan explores cutting-edge classroom technology with area teachers

Milligan College M.Ed. student Daniel Couper demonstrated Tagxedo, an application that turns text into visual word clouds for students to see, at the inaugural Technology Academy conference held at Science Hill High School on Thursday for area teachers.

Milligan M.Ed. student Ivy Moore showed off Plickers, a real-time formative assessment tool for teachers that can be used without the need for student devices. Students hold up QR codes on sheets of paper to answer, and the teacher captures it on a smart phone.

MILLIGAN COLLEGE, Tenn. (June 21, 2016) – Plickers. Edmodo. Brain Pop.

Strange names, but these new classroom technologies are just a few of the exciting innovations that several Milligan College Master of Education students presented at Technology Academy, an inaugural conference held Thursday at Science Hill High School.
Attended by over 220 area teachers, the conference was started by Dr. David Timbs, a 1994 Milligan M.Ed. graduate, who serves as supervisor of instructional technology in the Johnson City Schools and adjunct education instructor at Milligan.

“This conference is unlike anything else in the region,” said Dr. Greg Matthias, Milligan’s assistant professor of education. “It’s important for our students to help local teachers become more familiar with changing technological trends, because a lot of these technologies engage the whole brain and can help meet students where they’re at.”

Milligan M.Ed. student Daniel Couper, from Blountville, Tennessee, talked about several new programs, including a formative assessment tool called Poll Everywhere, which allows students to use their phones or laptops to answer questions in class, the results of which are instantly displayed on the projector at the front of the classroom.

“Everyone sees results in real time,” said Couper, who plans to teach English and physics at the secondary level in the Johnson City area. “It allows teachers to see where their students are at while they’re in the classroom.”

Jackie Smith, a ninth grade honors biology teacher at Science Hill who attended the conference, said she has already been using Poll Everywhere in her class. “It helps me get 100% participation and know what’s going on with my students,” she said.

While she already considers herself tech-savy and uses technology on a daily basis in her classroom, the Milligan-led session helped her learn about other new programs like ZipGrade, which turns a smartphone into an optical grading machine similar to a Scantron, and could
shorten her time spent grading.

“I’m very excited to try that,” said Smith, who has taught for 13 years. “Students want feedback right then, and this truly gives them instant feedback.”

Couper said technology like Poll Everywhere does open up the issue about whether students should have cell phones in the classroom, and programs like this could be restricted depending on school policy.

“Technology does have drawbacks, but it’s the world that students grow up in,” said Couper. “Our goal at the conference was to provide the knowledge for teachers to be well-informed and let them make their own decision.”

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MILLIGAN UNIVERSITY is a Christian liberal arts university in Northeast Tennessee whose vision is to change lives and shape culture through a commitment to servant leadership. The university offers more than 100 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in a variety of fields, along with graduate and adult degree completion programs.  To learn more about Milligan University, visit www.milligan.edu or call 800-262-8337.

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