Free-Range Faculty; Untethering the Teacher in a Technology-Enhanced Classroom

Concurrent Session 2
Streamed Session

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Brief Abstract

Providing solutions in removing the cables from the technology-enhanced classroom and opening up the space for a truly collaborative experience.


Michael Avis has been teaching for over fifteen years both internationally and domestically.  He has experience in Primary, Secondary and Post- Secondary settings, and has dedicated himself for the past ten years to educational technology integration.  Michael has presented at both Canadian and International conferences and has delivered technology workshops at George Brown College, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, and the Toronto District School Board. He is currently teaching Communications at George Brown College in Toronto, Canada where he is active in teaching, staff training and innovation.
Alexandra is the Chair of the School of Communication at George Brown College and a part-time professional communication instructor at Ryerson University. She previously spent 12 years teaching in the community college system and a decade as an instructional designer and learning program manager at the BMO Financial Group's Institute for Learning.

Extended Abstract

New technologies are forcing educators and researchers to reevaluate the physical classroom and to adjust traditional teaching practices accordingly. Breaking through the wall of open laptop covers and encouraging students to look up from their personal devices can be a considerable challenge for all post-secondary educators. The explosion of individual web-connected devices over the last five years has underlined the need to liberate the teacher from dependence on the podium in the front of the classroom. Students are now focusing on the screen rather than the traditional lecturer, yet still remain largely oriented toward the teacher at the front of the room. Although the "sage on the stage" dynamic has long been identified as incongruent with twenty-first century educational realities, in practice, it can be difficult to break our attachment to the podium and re-orient our classrooms.

The workshop is designed to showcase some strategies and tools that can encourage a more fluid physical environment. This environment can allow the professor to circulate unencumbered by cables, to facilitate dynamic group collaboration, and to eliminate the "back of the room". In addition, detaching from the podium allows for a more intimate and inclusive atmosphere conducive to greater student-teacher engagement.

Attendees will participate in a real-time demonstration of various technologies that can lead to an opening up of the small to medium educational space. Solutions ranging from simple best practice strategies, to more technology-heavy solutions will be showcased. We expect that attendees will come away with concrete and scaleable practices that can be applied in any classroom.

It is recommended that attendees bring a tablet or smartphone to the workshop with the following Apps installed: Nearpod, Chromecast, Socrative, and Notability. In addition, a website will be made available with session notes and relevant links included.