‘I’ve had a lot of experience teaching teachers, but I’ve never had results … this astonishing.’
URI Harrington School of Communication and Media founding director
By Eli Okun
When Hope Hall got her master’s degree in education and technology in 1989, she saw herself at the vanguard of a new approach to teaching and learning.
“I thought I was on the cutting edge,” she said.
Since then, the technology landscape has shifted so far as to be nearly unrecognizable. And Hall, like other teachers, has had to adapt. “You just have to continue to grow and change,” said Hall, a Nashville public schools librarian who has also worked as a reading and language arts teacher. “The technology’s always going to be better and different and newer, but you have to have the foundation.”
Hall was one of 60 people from 15 states and three countries who arrived in Providence last month for a weeklong Summer Institute on Digital Literacy July 14-19 spearheaded by two University of Rhode Island professors. The group ranged from elementary school teachers and college professors to media specialists, a journalist and a filmmaker, and they convened for an intensive exploration of incorporating multimedia platforms and promoting digital savvy in the classroom.
It was, said Barrington public schools reading specialist and URI Ph.D. student Mark Davis, “like summer camp for literacy and media folks.”
For Renee Hobbs, founding director of URI’s Harrington School of Communication and Media, who created the institute with School of Education assistant professor Julie Coiro, the week was in part a chance to capitalize on what she saw as an emerging strength at the Harrington School.
“This initiative puts a stake in the ground around our commitment to doing the most cutting-edge, the most innovative teaching and learning with digital media tools, texts and technology,” she said.