Technology Boot Camp Improves Outcomes for Summer Reading Program Participants

The Saint Joseph’s University’s Summer Reading Program, under the direction of Dr. Mary DeKonty Applegate, is a summer graduate studies program in the Department of Teacher Education that provides children in grades K-9 with individualized assessment profiles, small group instruction and collaborative literacy learning focused on higher-level thinking.

The program’s literacy coaches and graduate students experienced increasing technology problems from 2011 to 2012 that were disruptive to the productivity of the program participants. Some of these difficulties were attributable to the diverse models of digital video cameras being implemented as the preferred Flip digital video cameras were discontinued and reaching end of life: unintentionally large file sizes, not sure how to download video from the newer cameras, difficulty deleting videos, etc. Additionally the participants had multimedia file-handling issues such as difficulty inserting large video files into PowerPoint and uploading video files to the university Blackboard server.

In response to this growing need for technology support, Duane Glover, Technical Support Specialist for the College of Arts & Sciences, implemented an intensive Technology Boot Camp for the literacy coaches and graduate students participating in the 2013 Summer Reading Program. Additionally, dedicated on-site technical support was made available for ongoing training and support for the duration of the program. The Technology Boot Camp and the subsequent support sessions covered:

  • Camera setup and use
  • Downloading video from cameras
  • Video file formats and conversion options
  • Resources for editing videos
  • Simple editing of videos (rotate, clip, etc)
  • Blackboard video uploads (supported by a Kaltura video hosting server)
  • PowerPoint (Inserting Audio/video objects)

Pre and post program surveys were provided to the attendees of the Technology Boot Camp to collect feedback to guide future training programs and provide a baseline to assess whether the training proved to be useful to the attendees. To view a report summarizing and highlighting the survey results click here.

With the successful outcomes that were obtained at this year’s Summer Reading Program, we would like to include technology training and direct support every year. We also successfully integrated 3 Apple iPad mini tablets into the program to replace the aging Flip video cameras and would like to add more iPads in the future. The iPads enabled the coaches, graduate students and children to engage in digital audio and video projects that enhanced their learning experience and demonstrated their understanding in many different ways. It is also important for prospective teachers to have sufficient time, support and resources to prepare for implementing the iPad into their curriculum.