Tuesday, March 09, 2010

UIS "Education Technology" blog ranked in top 50 by Web site

The UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service’s blog “Education Technology” has been ranked #33 in a national list of similar blogs by the website The Learning Master.

This list of the top 50 education technology blogs includes writers, technicians and social media experts that are all teachers. The UIS blog is ranked in the “on the ground” category for offering news, tools and methods of using technology in the classroom.

Ray Schroeder, Director of COLRS has maintained the blog daily since he started it in 2002. Schroeder is a Professor Emeritus of Communication with three dozen years of teaching experience on the Urbana and Springfield campuses. He has taught more than 30 online class offerings.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Technology Day met with success

By Courtney Westlake

With the theme of "Building iCommunity: Toolsets for Today," the 8th annual Technology Day was held on Wednesday, February 27 from 11:30 to 4:30 in the PAC Concourse and received a great turnout from the campus and local community.

"I thought it went great," said Tulio Llosa, director of Educational Technology at UIS. "We reached out to the entire UIS community; there were faculty, staff, students, and educators and technology coordinators from District 186."

Numerous participants stopped by to visit the various booths of poster sessions set up and take part in the educational and interactive workshops on subjects like online learning and teaching, job search in the digital age, technological resources available at UIS and much more.

Ann Peterson Bishop, professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and community organizer, spoke to a group of campus community members at 12 p.m. about the field of community informatics and using technology in innovative ways.

Community informatics is an interdisciplinary field that encompasses research, practice and policy, Bishop said. It has to do with how knowledge is created and mobilized and how information technologies help and hinder the sharing of knowledge.

"Community informatics kind of looks at one geographic community and looks at that entire community as a unit and asks how all relates together," Bishop said. "It is specifically grounded in community development. We're interested in how technology and knowledge play a role for good and really help communities and community members."

Bishop discussed her work with the Community Informatics Initiative - integrating technology within communities and organizations of all kinds - and showed numerous examples of the ways the initiative collaborates with communities.

"I really liked her presentation," Llosa said. "I like the concept of an iCommunity using technology not only in our work but in our community. It tied in really well with our theme."

Participants of all backgrounds were able to find something that interested them and were able to learn something new, Llosa said. There was a session on eDocs for faculty, one about Cisco communicators and IP Phones for staff, and employers from companies like ADM and State Farm that students were able to speak with about technology skills, he said.

"I'm very happy with the turnout, especially at the presentations," Llosa said. "It really gave us an opportunity to showcase the innovative ways we are using technology here at UIS."

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Technology Day to educate participants

By Courtney Westlake


The 8th annual Technology Day will be held Wednesday, February 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the lower level of the PAC. The theme for the event is "Building iCommunity: Toolsets for Today."

"We chose this theme because we wanted to highlight the ways that technology is used to build community, particularly in education," said Tulio Llosa, director of Educational Technology at UIS. "Technology Day is important to participants because of the wide variety of learning opportunities that it affords. We believe that participants will walk away from Technology Day with at least one new idea or tool to implement in their teaching, learning or work."

Both UIS participants and community members will have no problem finding a presentation or poster session that suits their interests or needs, Llosa said.

"The purpose for Technology Day is to be an outreach not only to UIS community but to local school districts and community members who also might be interested in learning about new technology and how to use that new technology to do the things that make sense in their lives," said Vickie Cook, professor of Educational Leadership who is on the planning committee for the event.

The keynote speaker for the event is Ann Peterson Bishop, associate professor in the graduate school of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and co-director of the Community Informatics Initiative. She will speak at 12 p.m. about ways that technology is being used at UIUC to build bridges between the university and community, Llosa said.

There will also be a variety of poster sessions and workshops throughout the afternoon on topics like podcasting, E-waste recycling, Photoshop, public social networking, organization in online courses, and much more.

Technology Day organizers hope the workshops and sessions will be utilized by teachers, students and other community members to learn how to access more information using technology, how to create items that might be of interest to them personally and professionally or simply to learn how to communicate effectively, Cook said.

"We're hoping that presenters will able to share with participants they ways they can use different types of technology tools to do the things they might be most interested in," she said.

Everyone who is interested is invited to come share the day, which is free and open to participants, Cook said. Prizes and light refreshments will be provided, and the campus community is encouraged to stop by and take part. For more information, check out the Technology Day Web site.

"We hope to have a good turnout from UIS students, staff and faculty, so they can learn more about the resources available to them," Llosa said. "And we hope to provide each participant with relevant learning experiences and creative, new technology-related ideas."

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Professor Touts Computer Technology to Advance Education

By Courtney Westlake

Dr. Kathleen Burns admits that her penmanship is so awful, her students used to complain good-naturedly they couldn't read her writing on the chalkboard.

That is why, she jokes, she was forced to become an expert on computer technology as a means of teaching and learning in the classroom.

Burns, a professor in the college of Education and Human Services, is new to UIS this fall. She obtained her bachelor's and master's degrees in education, forever knowing that being a teacher was her calling.

"I always wanted to be a teacher; that was my heart's desire ever since I can remember," she said. "I just didn’t realize I would end up being a professor of education."

But Burns had a great mentor while she was working on her master's degree, who encouraged her to pursue a Ph.D., from the University of Missouri-St. Louis, and go on to teach at the college level.

The decision to join the UIS community, Burns said, was an easy one. She attended the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay and says that the underground tunnels at Wisconsin and at UIS are extremely similar, which she loves. While visiting from her previous position at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Burns was taken with UIS.

"The very first time I came on this campus, I said 'I am going to work here'," she said. "It was really easy for me to say that's where I want to be."

Burns is currently teaching her first class that is completely online, called Technology in Education, which she is thrilled about. She also teaches Social Studies Methods and Teaching, Learning and Assessment for elementary majors.

Online learning and computer technology have been special interests of Burns in her professional work since the beginning. She became intrigued at the concept while she was working as administrator in high school setting. When technology began to come around, the school needed someone to "take charge" as the coordinator between technology and education.

"I ended up being the mediator, the person on campus who could do little fixes to the computer and the network, and it just got more and more evolved, to the point where I was doing the technology end of things more than other things," she said.

Burns then landed a part-time stint assisting fellow teachers with using computers within their teaching curriculum and classroom education. She ended up writing her Ph.D. dissertation on the subject.

Burns said over the years, she has become so closely associated with technology in the classroom that she has seen firsthand the benefits that computer technology does play and could potentially affect in the classroom setting. She is excited about what is progressing.

"I can honestly say that I think there won't be classrooms at some point," she said. "Imagine how online learning and computer technology could benefit high school students who want to take a more advanced class, like a college course. Or challenge alternative students, most of whom are so smart, but just bored with the day-to-day in-class schedules."

"I’ve been there since it began to be implemented," she added, "and I think it just keeps getting better and better."

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