Through an online class, teachers are learning digital skills that they can bring into their classrooms this fall.
"Summer Camp for Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age" gives New Jersey teachers time to explore technology. The self-paced course includes eight modules on topics such as the flipped classroom, which can involve working with students on projects during class and moving short lectures online.
At Montclair State University in New Jersey, the ADP Center for Teacher Preparation and Learning Technologies provides professional development for more than 50,000 teachers, students and teacher educators. The center started the class this summer to help teachers find resources and try different technology.
"We'll always be here as a guide, but we're trying to demystify some of these concepts so they're not afraid to tackle them," said Joe Russo, assistant director of the center.
Throughout the school year teachers ask questions about technology, but they don't always have the time to attend training at the center. So summer provides an opportunity for teachers to get familiar with new concepts and techniques.
Online resources including Thinkfinity, World Book Online and Starfall help English Language Learners explore English in a variety of ways, said Marie Snow, coordinator of the English as a Second Language Program in River Vale Public Schools in New Jersey. She's been taking the Summer Camp online class this summer so she can bring more resources and ideas back to her students this fall.
Snow learned how to make infographics and use ClassDojo to help manage student behavior. And she plans to teach students to share what they're learning through infographics.
While Snow will receive 40 professional development hours for taking the online class, she's probably put in more than triple those hours.
"I think this has been one of the most exciting experiences of my professional learning because [you learn] at your own pace," Snow said. "They've given us food for thought, and we've gone off and explored and created. It's very hands-on."