September 21, 2022

Elon University / Today at Elon / Digital Learning Days Provide Teachers with Educational Technology Tools

Hosted by Teaching and Learning Technologies, Digital Learning Days are a series of summer workshops designed to help teachers build confidence in their use of various technologies in the classroom.

Elon University is renowned for the way its professors connect with students, with the university ranked #1 in the latest U.S. News & World Report for excellence in undergraduate teaching. The university has achieved this status through a variety of innovative and intentional methods to ensure that faculty remain at the forefront of teaching the next generation of global citizens.

One such method is Digital Learning Days organized by Teaching and Learning Technologies (TLT). The first Digital Learning Day was held in 2020 to help teachers get started with online teaching. Digital Learning Days returned this year with a focus on creating a more comprehensive understanding of technology. Digital Learning Days help teachers design lessons, encourage classroom collaboration, gain hands-on experience with different technologies, and connect with other teachers.

“The most important goal for us for Digital Learning Days was to create a sense of community and trust among faculty around technology,” said Dhvani Toprani, instructional technologist at TLT.

The three-day workshops were offered twice during the summer and teachers received a $300 stipend for their participation. The first two days were virtual with synchronous sessions hosted by TLT and included technology demonstrations. Day three was held at the Maker Hub downtown, where teachers worked in groups to complete a craft project and showcased their takeaways from the three days.

The list of technologies with which the 27 participating teachers gained additional experience includes Moodle, Zoom and Adobe Creative Cloud, among others.

Several students attended the sessions while the faculty explained their teaching methods and asked students how they could improve their teaching.

“I think it brought a lot of depth and merit to the experience,” said Kate Moss, a TLT instructional technologist who led the workshop.

Toprani, along with Senior Instructional Technologist Dan Reis, Instructional Technologist Kendra Nanton and TLT Assistant Director Scott Hildebrand also led sessions.

TLT’s mission is to provide “hardware, software, infrastructure, training, and advisory support” to the Elon community to use innovative technology tools for student-centered pedagogy. Teachers involved in the Digital Learning Days have expressed how the experience has improved their teaching.

The future of education is ever-changing, and as more tools to improve teaching become readily available, Elon’s teachers seek to implement these strategies. Adjunct Instructor in Public Health Studies, Kimberly Alexander, said, “It was great to have a cohort from across the university with diverse perspectives. I appreciate the resources and support provided by Elon and will definitely be looking for other TLT opportunities to enhance my teaching.