TOMBALL, Texas – According to a recent survey by the National Survey of Student Engagement, 98 percent of students say they’ve experienced boredom at some point while learning at school, and one in five first-year college students report having difficulty learning course material largely due to how it’s presented. Hoping to tackle this issue head-on, Lone Star College-Tomball has piloted the Instructional Technology Certification Program (ITCP). Participating faculty members are taught how to creatively infuse technology-rich, engaging lessons, learning activities, and teaching materials into their instruction.
“There’s nothing out there like it,” said Latoya Hardman Lewis, LSC-Tomball director of the Associate of Arts in Teaching Program, faculty fellow, and creator of ITCP. The program is one of the only programs of its kind that can be found on any college campus in the state of Texas. “PowerPoint and a projector is typically what comes to mind when speaking of using technology in the classroom,” Lewis said, “but it’s so much more than that. ITCP exposes teachers to a wealth of knowledge, tools, and resources that are fun, engaging, and impactful.”
LSC-Tomball’s ITCP is designed to promote student engagement while also teaching future teachers how to teach the students of tomorrow. The 10-session pilot program, which began in September, includes nine, three-hour instructional sessions, and one presentation session, where all participants share what they’ve learned throughout the program.
Joe Cahill, chair of the LSC-Tomball Business department and ITCP participant, said the program has exceeded his expectations in learning useful online technologies, including mobile technologies, to stimulate student interest and involvement in learning.
“I particularly liked the interactive nature of the activities and tools introduced in the program,” Cahill stressed, before adding, “Latoya Lewis is a valuable asset to faculty who want to improve their teaching skills. She is a master craft person in the teaching trade. Her teachings opened up a whole new world of ways for me to engage my students in the learning process.”
Dr. Harold L. Fisher, Jr., an LSC-Tomball adjunct professor, who will be one of the program’s first graduates, described each of the sessions he has taken, as phenomenal. “I have utilized technology in the classroom while teaching for years, but in the ITCP class sessions, Latoya has exposed me to things I have never heard of. One of the tools that has been really helpful with my students is Emaze, a free online presentation software tool. My students just love it. In fact, whenever I present with PowerPoint, my students ask why I am using PowerPoint, because they now prefer Emaze. The things that I learned in this program and the lessons really blows me away.”
ITCP participants meet for class twice a month and submit regular class assignments and homework online via the Lone Star College learning management tool. The ITCP lesson titles include: What is Instructional Technology?; Beefing up your Current Learning Materials; Creating Engaging and Interactive Lessons; Keeping up in the 21st Century Classroom; Finding, Captioning, and Including
Videos in your Presentations; Pivot Your Instruction; Let’s Get Visual; All About Google; How to Handle Social Media and Networking in the Classroom.
“We will have our first group of graduates this April,” said Lewis, who wrote the 184-page instructor manual for ITCP during the summer of 2016. “It’s a unique program and I’m excited for what the future holds.”