Faculty members at the University of Michigan-Dearborn come together to collaborate on ideas for integrating sustainable technology into science classrooms

January 21, 2011

DEARBORN / Jan. 21, 2011---Apple iPads are cool. But the true potential of the popular tablet computer really shines through when placed in the hands of undergraduate earth science students who can use it to access tools like Google Earth for their studies.

Thatís why a group of faculty members at the University of Michigan-Dearborn have come together this semester to collaborate on ideas for integrating sustainable technology into science classrooms.

Stein Brunvand, assistant professor of educational technology; Christopher Burke, associate professor of education; and Susan Everett, associate professor of science education, have spearheaded the $15,000 project, which received support from the School of Education (SOE) Deanís Office, a Faculty Research Initiative and a Seed Grant from the University, as well as other funding sources.

ďOur goal is to use technology in meaningful ways to enhance the learning of our students,Ē Brunvand said. ďWe want faculty to teach with technology because it improves the learning experience for our students. Itís not about getting the latest gadget on the market.Ē

Brunvand, Burke and Everett are working with their chemistry, physics and biology colleagues in the campusís Inquiry Institute Ė a group of SOE science educators and scientists in the department of natural sciences who meet to work on grants, program revisions and the development of a masterís program in science education.

The group plans to work with other SOE science educators to integrate more technology into inquiry-based classes, which will help UM-Dearbornís students gain experience with state-of-the-art technological innovations that can enrich science teaching and learning.

As a result of the initiative, 15 Apple iPads have been purchased for use in several earth science and physics courses. Brunvand will work with College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters faculty to design lessons that utilize online tools like Google Docs and Google Earth to use with the iPads, and mentor his colleagues as they bring the new technology into the classrooms.

The long-term goal of the project is to generate the resources needed to create a sustainable program that will allow other faculty members on-campus incorporate technology into non-science courses.

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About University of Michigan-Dearborn
Founded in 1959 with a gift of just over 200 acres of land and $6.5 million from the Ford Motor Company, UM-Dearborn has been distinguished by its commitment to providing excellent educational opportunities responsive to the needs of southeastern Michigan. The university has 8,700 students pursuing undergraduate, masterís, doctoral and professional degrees in the liberal arts and sciences, engineering, business, education, and public administration. With a faculty devoted to teaching, and students committed to achievement, UM-Dearborn has been shaped by its history of interaction with business, government and industry in southeastern Michigan, and is committed to responding to the needs of the region in the future.


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