COURSE REVISION REPORT
AND RELATED TECHNOLOGIES IN SOFD328 SCHOOLS IN A MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY
AT EASTERN MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY
The course, "Schools in a Multicultural Society," is similar to but significantly different from that which many teacher-preparation institutions require of all students in their professional programs. It deals with all of the following topics, in addition to a number of others:
- Teachers' Lives: What it is like to be a teacher in the schools of the United States.
- Teacher Qualifications: What is necessary for one to acquire in terms of professional qualifications including certification/licensing, examinations, majors, minors, specialties, and standards to be met prior to becoming a legally-qualified educator.
- A taxonomy of educators and how one qualifies for the myriad professional positions in education.
- Teacher behaviors and implications for those who are in professional positions.
- Living and teaching in a multicultural, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual society.
- A taxonomy of ethnic and ethnic minority groups who may be present in the classroom in which the new educator will teach.
- Global and international education and attendant issues; a comparative approach to education.
I am an educator just completing my 47th year as a professional. I recognize that a seasoned educator and a neophyte educator have more than one thing in common:
Each of us has to take the position that he/she has only begun to
learn. (See Gwaltney, T.M. (Fall, 1993) “Welcome to Butterflies!”
The New Teacher Advocate, Indianapolis, IN: Kappa Delta Pi) That is one reason that I jumped at the opportunity to apply for an INTIME grant for the Fall and Winter Semesters of 200-2001, and was ecstatic when I was accepted. I wanted to learn in this program which I believed would be comprehensive, collaborative and would stretch my students and me to apply technology to the multicultural, Social Foundations course which I have taught, in several formats, for a number of years. I have never taught the course the same way. I would find such interminable repetition to be stultifying, to say the least. I am sure my students would as well.
I have long been conversant with existing technologies of a given period. In the early years of my career, the technologies were primitive by today's standards. My first school, of which I was principal and seventh/eighth grade teacher (at age 19), did not have a telephone, a duplicator, an adding machine, a comptometer, or any such technologically -sophisticated device. The only computers were those owned by the Department of War or its successor the Department of Defense or by some other government agency.
When I served my compulsory military time, computers were a mystery waiting in the wings. The reality was some kind of manual typewriter—usually an Underwood—or at best one of the crude early electric typewriters.
However, by the time I worked on my Ph.D. dissertation, employing a statistic which I had developed, I was using one of the 1960's decade generation of IBM 1620 equipment (with 20K internal and 20K added on in a separate module). The two statistical arrays I devised to interpret my research data took five hours and three hours, respectively, to calculate, and my statistical advisor and I had to develop the software using appropriate Hollerith (IBM) punch-cards. The technology saved me a year of hand calculation if I had had to use the next best device, a square-root Frieden machine. Today’s technology could handle the statistical work in seconds if not milliseconds.
Perhaps nothing has aided instruction more in recent decades than the use of advanced devices and techniques for presentation, research, evaluation and planning. I am intrigued by the employment of technology and can see many more uses than I shall ever have time to try. Thanks to INTIME, I had opportunity for additional learning and advancement.
As a global/international professor I enjoy the sites to which my students and I can meander. I can revisit on the Internet places where I have lived and taught.
- Republic of Mexico, Fall 1973, on sabbatical studying the organization and effectiveness of the educational system of the Republic.
- Republic of Cyprus, Summer 1990, teaching Educational Leadership and Educational Philosophy courses to students from all over Europe, Northern Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Germany, Scotland, Kuwait and many other locations. I stopped in Israel and lived in the Old City of Jerusalem and made excursions to Jerico, Qumran and Masada. Once in Cyprus, I had a holiday and went to Egypt and Israel a second time via ship. I also visited Germany, East and West, and witnessed destruction of the secondary Wall in Berlin.
- Republic of Mexico, Fall and Winter 1990-91, teaching workshops in educational research methodology and statistics in a new doctoral program in social sciences (in Spanish, my second language). I was a Senior Fulbright Scholar/Researcher, and the Autonomous Metropolitan University, Xochimilco Campus (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana—Unidad Xochimilco), México, D.F. The university bestowed on me the rank of a full visiting professor (profesor visitante titular “C”) as well, a rank which I still hold.
- Republic of Mexico, Summers 1994 and 1995, teaching workshops in educational research methodology and statistics as a in the School of Languages (Escuela de Idiomas), Autonomous University of Querétaro (Universidad Autónoma de
Querétaro), Querétaro, Qro.
- I am also a humanities specialist, and was recently named a “Humanities Professional” by the Michigan Council for the Humanities.
- I attempt to incorporate as much as possible in my courses concerning the social sciences, the humanities and culture in my courses.
The two-day workshop in October 2000 was one of the most exciting learning experiences I have had to date. I looked forward to returning to Iowa, and was excited seeing the farmlands stretching endlessly. As a youngster my favorite aunt and uncle lived in Iowa on a farm, so I indulged my interest in driving through to see the land and the people. I came a day early because I had read about the Marshall Schoolhouse on the campus. I had opportunity to walk from the Holiday Inn to the campus and visit the Schoolhouse and the University Museum to which it is attached.
Once the workshop began I had little time to visit the campus because we were incredibly busy. The instructors at the University of Northern Iowa had their materials organized well and had obviously invested a remarkable amount of time and effort in achieving a sense of collegiality and cooperation among each other. It was obvious to those of us representing the seven additional Renaissance Group universities in the program, that the INTIME video vignettes were well selected.
The workshop was conducted in an up-to-date computer laboratory which, with approximately 30 computer stations, used less space than the IBM 1620 with its puny 40K memory potential and hugely enormous input/output devices of the '60s had taken up. I believe this is one of the visual evidences of the evolution of technology to date: Infinitely more powerful equipment introducing efficiencies, which we never would have dreamed of then.
The video vignettes are hybrids produced by INTIME (usable either in Windows and Macintosh equipment). The videos are online, so that the question of platform is not problematic for me so far as whether a computer lab is equipped with one format or another. They are succinct and can be used across discipline lines. For example, some of the teaching of reading videos can be used to demonstrate how teachers and their classrooms differ in terms of location (north, south, east or west), demographics (ethnic, ethnic minority, racial and linguistic characteristics). These videos, then, deal not only with the teaching of a lesson specific to some area of the curriculum, but, rather, with topics which are relevant and applicable to the concerns of Social Foundations students and faculty.
Unanticipated Personal Challenge at the Beginning of the INTIME Implementation:
At the end of the year 2000, I was diagnosed with a dangerous and difficult medical problem which necessitated nearly immediate alleviation through surgery. Like many educators, I arranged my surgery in order that it would not interfere too markedly with my students and course materials. I planned with the surgeons to have the surgery performed during the mid-winter vacation. Further, I used the INTIME materials and techniques early in order that my students would not lose out on this unique opportunity to benefit from the hard work of those who prepared materials and my own and my colleague-participants' investment of time while at Cedar Falls, Iowa.
My medical condition affected my eyes, and before the surgery the use of books, computer screens and other reading materials was difficult. Almost immediately after the surgery the condition began rapid remission and I was able to complete the Winter Semester 2001 and the Spring Session 2001 without further impairment or impediment. The reduction of difficulty with my vision enabled a more complete use of the INTIME materials and techniques in Fall Semester 2001, Winter Semester 2002 and Spring Session 2002. I now have a clean bill of health because the condition was not malignant, and subsequent examinations have found no evidence of recurrence.
Anticipated Future Applications of INTIME Methodology:
I have expanded the use of instructional technology far beyond the undergraduate course for which I originally intended to use it.
I now teach all my courses either in computer laboratories or "smart rooms." I suspect I am the only Social Foundations scholar to do so. My course syllabi, personal Curriculum Vitae, and other relevant sources are on the Internet on my professional web page:
The page above is undergoing extensive revision prior to the Fall Semester 2002.
SOFD328 Schools in a Multicultural Society was the target course and the reason I wanted to participate in the INTIME Project. I now use sites and sources for teaching SOFD572 History of Education, a graduate-level course for those seeking advanced certification.
In the Fall Semester I shall be using some approaches for a section of UNIV179 Introduction to University Studies.
I have added a dimension in all of my courses in that I now post reserve materials in the "Electronic Reserves" available to faculty members here at Eastern Michigan University. See the following site:
This has enabled me to eliminate one textbook--and the incredible additional cost to my students--while adding more relevant and current information than that which they would have received by paying nearly one hundred dollars for a book which when "new" was three years outdated when published.
Other Applications of the INTIME and Other Relevant Formulations of Technology:
In the past two years I have made numerous presentations at professional conferences and workshops. I participate with staff development and school improvement. I have made presentations which use technology in two Best Practices Conferences (2000 and 2001). In each instance I used available materials to demonstrate how new approaches have facilitated my own improvement as an educator.
I made a presentation in April 2002, "Keeping Excited and Motivated as a Professor," for the Showcase of Faculty Excellence at Eastern Michigan University. The Showcase was sponsored by the Faculty Center for Instructional Effectiveness. I mentioned experiences which had affected me, including INTIME.
The most recent presentation which I made was at the Country School Memories Conference at the University of Iowa, June 27-28, 2002. The presentation was titled, "Using Technology to Teach about Country Schools." The members of the audience were fascinated at the juxtaposition of history and technology. After nearly a half century of working as a professional educator, I find that history and the future complement each other, because, after all, they are close relatives.
I shall likely make a similar presentation at the Tenth Anniversary Conference of the Michigan One-Room School Association to be held at Eastern Michigan University in May 2003. It began here and is returning to its roots.
The INTIME Project has generated materials and techniques, which have wide applicability for students and professors in teacher preparation courses. I have cherished my involvement in the program and am grateful for the approaches I have learned and continue to learn.
I have made adaptations and additions to fit my Social Foundations course, and I shall continue to use the materials and make reference to colleagues with reference to the INTIME contributions.
The INTIME developers and participants--and their significant work--will continue to be an integral part of my course materials. I shall ever be indebted to them for their contributions to the betterment of the learning environment of my students and me.
Student course evaluations indicate that students are satisfied with the materials and with the INTIME approach to learning.
I shall continue to use the INTIME materials so long as they are readily available.