Educators share positive experiences from pandemic teaching

The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic challenged everyone to learn new ways of living. Educators were challenged to learn new ways of teaching and connecting with their students. For many, that change was overnight.

Starting in the Fall 2020 semester, Reinhardt University’s Center for Innovative Teaching and Engaged Learning (CITEL) invited Reinhardt faculty to share new technologies they learned that enhanced their teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The result was a weekly program called Appy Hours. The program, named by Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education Tami Smith, leaned into the theme of technology while accommodating the COVID-19 limitations with 40-minute online workshops each Friday afternoon.

During the Fall Appy Hours sessions, Reinhardt faculty presented on a variety of topics, such as:

  • Customizing Hawkes
  • Communicating with students in Discord
  • Using Loom, Flipgrid, and Vizia
  • Canvas Studio, Class Notebook and Poll Everywhere
  • Ed Puzzle
  • Question Formulation Technique Using Padlet and Adobe Sparks
  • Perusall for Collaborative Reading Notes
  • Mastery Gradebook in Canvas
  • Pecha Kucha and Canva
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Lydia Ellen Laucella, CITEL Assistant Director

Lydia Ellen Laucella, CITEL Assistant Director, was excited to see the program expand into the community.

“In support of our center’s mission - to foster a campus culture that values collaboration and interaction among teachers and students to nurture innovation in the practice of teaching and to emphasize the role of engagement in learning, at Reinhardt University and in its surrounding communities - CITEL invited Cherokee County Secondary Educators to host Spring Appy Hours sessions,” said Laucella.

Laucella believes expanding into the surrounding area will set a positive precedent for future events.

“We experienced a successful turnout with secondary educators joining from Woodstock High School, Creekview High School, and Cherokee High School. Bridging the gap between secondary and postsecondary education, CITEL was able to provide teaching and learning workshops for our faculty to learn from and engage with our secondary education counterparts.”

Topics discussed during Spring 2020 Appy Hours included:

  • Mockaroo
  • Question Formulation Technique with Shared Documents
  • Prezi Live
  • Podcasting with Anchor.fm
  • Near Pod
  • GimKit
  • Virtual Reality
  • Tamper Monkey to enhance Canvas
  • Coaching for Student Success and Engaging Students with Microsoft Teams.
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Dr. Mason Conklin, CITEL Director

CITEL Director Dr. Mason Conklin sees this community collaboration already making an impact on how educators are approaching a new way to connect with students through technology.

"I was thrilled with the response from the teachers of the Cherokee County School district, and their willingness to collaborate. Moreover, I was thoroughly impressed with the presentations.  Our faculty have been buzzing about the demonstrated technology, and I have already heard reports of successful implementation in our courses this Spring."

Recorded sessions are available at Reinhardt University’s CITEL Playlist: https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLrK2fMX5m68JRWDhTPQdZfLNYFib46tAn

This summer, CITEL is excited to continue providing opportunities for these types of discussions by hosting the first Teaching and Learning Conference in the summer titled: Control + C-> What We Learned scheduled for June 17-18. Appy Hours were created as introductory content for the conference.

CITEL will be pairing up with local secondary educators for a collective teaching body to share what they have learned while teaching during a global pandemic, and the tools they will continue to use in classrooms.

To learn more about the conference, please visit https://www.reinhardt.edu/citel/citel-conference-ctrlc