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In education, innovation focuses on seeking, creating, and implementing novel solutions to a range of fundamental challenges. For example, how do we assess student understanding, how do we promote more interaction and engagement in large classes, and how can we get students to apply their knowledge in real-world contexts? Innovation can be reflected in many ways, including the content and design of curricular materials, opportunities for problem-based learning, and novel ways of constituting and running discussion groups.

At Tufts, we are fortunate that CELT and Educational and Scholarly Technology Services (ESTS) have a strong partnership to support faculty in exploring technology-based solutions for teaching innovation. Through the new Teaching With Technology Awards program, ESTS recently honored five faculty members who were nominated by their students for their development and application of novel technology-based improvements in their teaching:

(Produced by Phil Gay of the Education Department’s Media Center)

In the video above, five Tufts faculty members describe how they have tackled perennial classroom challenges and at the same time making learning more fun, rewarding, and engaging for teachers and students alike. Examples of tools they have developed include digital lecture libraries; multimedia hyperlinks to key terms, concepts, and geospatial references; and the web-based solicitation of student feedback prior to lectures in order to identify and, in real time, more effectively assess student understanding of course content.

Innovative use of technology in the classroom can be intimidating but very rewarding. Key for those new to this endeavor is to start small, aim for quick and early successes, and ask knowledgeable colleagues for help. There is no reason to let technology feel overwhelming – expertise and resources are available to make the work manageable and interesting.

CELT would like to join ESTS in congratulating the following award recipients:

Misha Eliasziw, Biostatistics, Public Health and Community Medicine, School of Medicine

David Hammer, Education, School of Arts and Sciences

Kris Manjapra, History, School of Arts and Sciences

Lee Minardi, Civil and Environmental Engineering, School of Engineering

Barbara Parmenter, Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, School of Arts and Sciences

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