Evolution of the high-tech classroom: College students as mentors, educators

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Technology & Innovation Academy in Action at SEE Science Center.
Technology & Innovation Academy in Action at SEE Science Center.

MANCHESTER, NH – Future teachers majoring in education at Southern New Hampshire University have a chance to put their coursework into practice before graduation through a unique partnership with a high-tech incubator project at SEE Science Center in the Millyard.

The Technology & Innovation Academy at SEE, run by Dr. Ali Rafieymehr of Dyn, is a high tech classroom that offers courses targeting students from middle and high school. The courses are taught by engineers, professors, business owners, scientists, teachers – and now emerging teachers, through a partnership with SNHU’s School of Education.

Dr. Ali Rafieymehr
Dr. Ali Rafieymehr

Rafieymehr is a a longtime engineer and educator who now serves as Director of the Technology & Innovation Academy at SEE and is Dean of Dyn University. This partnership extends the mission of Dyn University, which is to provide internal and external education and training opportunities, not only for Dyn employees, but to help nurture future engineers, inventors and problem solvers for the next generation of Dyn employees.

Students currently majoring in education at Southern New Hampshire University serve as mentors as well as teachers at Tech Academy by assisting with the interactive technology courses and programs. The courses are held after school hours at the SEE Science Center, and usually last between 6-15 weeks. Cost is between $125-$150 per course.

“We are embracing the fact that teaching and learning are undergoing significant transformation,” said Raymond McNulty, Dean of SNHU’s School of Education. “Learning today has expanded at a rate that has far outpaced our conceptions of teaching.  Teaching is one way – but not the only way – someone learns in this technology-driven highly collaborative world. This partnership assists our teacher candidates understand the important factors impacting learning in the 21st century.”

The partnership provides an environment for participating middle and high school students to be engaged throughout the class, said Dr. Audrey Rogers, Chair of Secondary and Leadership Programs at the School of Education at SNHU.

“We welcome innovative approaches to preparing candidates for the field of teaching, especially when it means putting candidates on site to work with K-12 students in authentic learning situations,” said Rogers.

“All teacher candidates should be cognizant of the powerful potential of technology to engage students and to build their critical thinking and problem solving skills. This collaboration with Technology & Innovation Academy at SEE helps pre-teachers gain hands-on experience, put theory into practice, and understand the importance of STEM education as an essential part of educational competencies. We are enthusiastic about this partnership and the possibilities it holds for our teacher candidates and for the K-12 Participants,” Rogers said.

Six college students majoring in education are participating this spring, assisting instructors of three courses (Experiencing the World of Computers using Raspberry Pi; Alice Programming; and Video Game Design).

“It is very exciting to be a part of such a great collaboration,” said Rafieymehr. “It is amazing what can happen when our technology and educational communities come together to provide the young people of Manchester area with the skills they need and at the same time provide opportunity for college students who will be our future teachers to become mentors and educators before graduating from college.”


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About Carol Robidoux 5212 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.