Lehman Hosts Bronx EdTech Showcase Celebrating Education Innovation

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Lehman Hosts Bronx EdTech Showcase Celebrating Education Innovation
Lehman Hosts Bronx EdTech Showcase Celebrating Education Innovation

Lehman College hosted the seventh Bronx EdTech Showcase on Friday, May 3, which brought representatives of three Bronx CUNY colleges together to discuss educational technology and its applications to teaching and learning.

The showcase brought together more than 200 educators and administrators from Lehman, Hostos Community College and Bronx Community College, as well as their respective presidents, for a day of presentations and two keynote talks. The theme of this year’s event was "Sustainable Innovation: Turning Fads into Forevers."

"The EdTech showcase is an annual event that presents an opportunity for faculty to come together, learn from each other, and celebrate success and innovation in teaching and learning with technology in and beyond the classroom," said Olena Zhadko, director of Online Education at Lehman and member of the Bronx EdTech Showcase Steering Committee. "Faculty share best practices in course design and teaching, and engaging ways to use educational technologies."

Educational technologies extend from physical devices used in the classroom, such as clickers, to the digital realm, with course websites that include downloadable readings, recorded lectures, and group discussion boards.

The showcase's 29 faculty presentations were wide ranging. Topics included engaging science students with blogging and 3D technology, using data visualization tools in course curriculum, and game-based learning.

The keynote talk was delivered by Christine Shakespeare, vice president of program strategy at 2U, Inc., an educational technology firm that builds digital programs, certificates, and professional development courses. She addressed the economic and demographic forces impacting higher education, and the way institutions are responding with more innovative programming and technologies to promote student success.

One presenter noted that technology can't take the place of knowledgeable and committed faculty, especially in courses taught entirely online.

"Engaging students online in an effective way creates a sense of cohesion in class and makes it easier to connect to students," said Susan Ko, a Lehman clinical professor who presented on the benefits of using web-based student surveys. "It’s really just a matter of finding the methods and techniques that work for you."

A presentation by James Wiley, principal analyst for technology at Eduventures and a Lehman alumnus, provided an overview of the vast educational technology marketplace, and suggested ways that institutions and educators can best choose the technologies that fit their needs and support students.

He counseled the audience to consider the way educational technologies relate to institutional goals, and how they can help educators and administrators deliver on the promises of the institution.

Using technology as a way to offer students more options is rapidly increasing across higher education. Students who live far from campus or whose employment conflicts with class schedules benefit from the accessibility and flexibility afforded by online options, and more students are taking advantage of the online option. In 2018, Lehman offered close to 470 hybrid or wholly online courses; nearly 60 percent of Lehman students enrolled in at least one of these classes.

A new addition to the program was an exemplary online course award, recognizing three outstanding faculty from the participating colleges who demonstrate excellence in online teaching. First and second place went to, respectively, Lehman’s own Sherry Deckman, professor of middle and high school education, and Kenneth Weisshaar, professor of philosophy, for their course designs.