In late October, three Vanier teachers travelled to Monterrey, Mexico for the 26th annual SOMECE (International Symposium on Information Technology in the Classroom). Organized by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), the SOMECE conference focuses on the use of ICT (Information Communication Technology) in the classroom and brings together teachers and experts from around the world to discuss the use of technology in education.
The trip is part of a joint Vanier College-UNAM project for sharing teachers’ practices and experiences with the use of IT in the classroom. The Vanier delegation consisted of Rhys Adams and Kevin Lenton, both of the Vanier Physics Department, and Marielle Beauchemin from Micropublishing and Hypermedia.
Making Physics relevant and exciting
Both Physics teachers regularly use ICT to teach Physics. They have developed unique WebWork activities for solving internet-based problems; use ICT for simulations; and have students take photos and film physics experiments in order to better analyze physics phenomena. At the conference, Rhys Adams explained how the use of WebWork can improve the quality of in-class discussion during lectures, while Kevin Lenton focused on how using ICT in experiments can increase student motivation.
Distance edcation and collaborative learning
Marielle Beauchemin drew on her work and expertise with APOP, the Association for the educational application of computer technology at the postsecondary level, to explain how to deliver distance and collaborative learning. Her presentation on how to effectively use videoconferencing included a live videoconference discussion with Vanier and other CEGEP professors.
“Our presentations were very successful and generated significant discussion,” says Kevin Lenton. “I now realise how important these conferences are to Vanier students as well as the general Vanier community. We have lots of great ideas to launch at Vanier.”
Benefits for all
The Vanier delegation returned from the conference inspired to pursue and promote the effective use of ICT in the classroom. Ultimately Vanier students are those who benefit most. They see their teachers excited and refreshed by the global academic community; they experience cutting-edge technology and pedagogy; they realize that learning is life-long.