CEHHS launches Inclusive Teaching Series hosted by the Committee for Inclusion, Diversity & Equity

by Marilyn Huerta

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Today, Richard Armenta, Assistant Professor in the Kinesiology department, presented Using Technology to Support Diverse Learners to his fellow faculty at CSUSM. 

As the session opened, music played in the background and lunch was provided for participants but Armenta first asked, “Did anyone notice what song that was just playing  in the background?”

“It was the song Imagine by John Lennon,” he said, “because I wanted to set the tone and remind you that this program is all about inclusivity.”

Armenta went on to discuss what inclusivity means in the classroom and what that means to others.  He shared that when he teaches, he first lays down the class guidelines for his students so they know what to expect in the course and then he reassures everyone knows that they are speaking within a “safe zone”. There will be no judgements when students participate in dialogs.  Armenta wants his students to feel safe, comfortable and open to discussions.

Armenta shared how technology supports teaching and how some of his strategies invites students to engage, interact and play games on their smart devices.  Sometimes the games are to query interest whereas other times it is to prep students for quizzes.  One of the game programs Armenta uses is a smart app known as Kahoot. It is an online game-based learning platform that is free to users and students enjoy playing it.

Another popular strategy that Armenta talked about is called Learning Glass.   It is a video technique that provides faculty the opportunity to create short videos for their students so they can view them during class time but then replay them again later to hear the information again.  What’s beautiful about this technology is that Learning Glass is literally a transparent whiteboard with a camera aimed through the glass for professors to write on as they lecture.  It appears as though the professors face their students while the video is projected and text is written on the board. The glass is side-lit by hundreds of small LED lights, making the fluorescent marker ink bright and easy to read and the text content can be projected on the board as the professor writes it.

Faculty were then given time to review how the technology strategies discussed might be incorporated into their own classroom instruction and were also encouraged to discuss how they currently use technology.  Faculty shared in small groups and with everyone present a variety of ways they can continue to create inclusive classrooms across CEHHS.

Armenta’s presentation was just the first of many more that will be offered as part of the series next year, but participants agreed that today’s presentation was a great success.

About the Inclusive Teaching Series (ITS)

In this series, faculty will present strategies for teachers that are found to be helpful in supporting diverse groups of students. Strategies will be briefly presented and then participants will have time to discuss as to how they currently use the strategy or how the strategy can be incorporated into future classes.  Presenters will allocate time for troubleshooting and for gaining feedback from colleagues regarding strategy modifications that best suit a range of content.

The goal of this series is to support faculty in having conversations about teaching strategies, sharing their knowledge related to teaching diverse learners, and highlighting strategies that are working in their classrooms.

For more information about Using Technology to Support Diverse Learners, please contact Richard Armenta, Assistant Professor at rarmenta@csusm.edu.

To learn more about ITS, please contact Leandro Galaz at lgalaz@csusm.edu.

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