Challenger Learning Center Works With WJU Students

WHEELING – Funding from the Benedum Foundation will give pre-service teachers attending Wheeling Jesuit University the first shot at a new learning concept called “flipped learning.” The Foundation awarded the Challenger Learning Center at WJU $172,000 for the first of its kind e-TechTeach program.

An e-TechTeach is a professional development workshop to educate pre-service and current teachers on how to flip their instruction, and how to effectively integrate technology in their lessons. e-TechTeach has collaborated with a team of expert educators to develop two types of programs: a curriculum package for college instructors of pre-service teachers; and a professional development program for current educators designed to serve teachers of all grade levels and subject areas.

WJU Assistant Professor of Professional Education Jane Neuenschwander said, “The e-TechTeach program is authentic learning at its best. WJU students studied problem-based learning this semester, and this program reinforced that concept while also presenting incredible new skills for teaching with technology.”

“We’re very excited about starting this new program and expanding our education services to other schools and institutions of higher learning in the nation. The whole WJU Challenger Learning Center staff is appreciative of the Benedum Foundation for believing in this program,” Jackie Shia, Challenger Learning Center director, said.

Flipped learning is a method in which direct instruction is moved from the group learning space to the individual learning space, and the resulting group space is transformed into an interactive learning environment. The advantage to a flipped lesson is that teachers are able to maximize interaction with students, guiding them one-on-one as they apply concepts and engage creatively with the subject matter. Teachers will be prepared to not only implement technology effectively into their instruction, but also to foster skill development among students that will prepare them for the technology-rich environment in which they live.

“Developing this learning program is history making at WJU. In the past, our program development has been geared towards students, but now we’ll be focusing primarily on those in the education field,” Shia said.

According to Liz Meredith of WJU’s Challenger Learning Center, e-TechTeach is in its pilot stage.