Facilitating Student Learning Through Multisensory Tools That Engage and Foster Collaboration

Facilitating Student Learning Through Multisensory Tools That Engage and Foster Collaboration

Daniel A. Novey (East Carolina University, USA), Hal L. Holloman (East Carolina University, USA) and Marjorie C. Ringler (East Carolina University, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2132-8.ch012
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This chapter describes how university professors in a principal preparation program applied technology resources to face-to-face and online instruction to intensify student interactions and engagement with the professors and each other. As a result, the learning opportunities were transformed to increase effective student and professor interaction and student learning. Professors found that utilizing multisensory technology provided platforms in which robust learning exchanges occurred that deepened learning while students and professors worked collaboratively. The chapter describes how several studies show how the use of interactive multisensory tools such as Flipgrid, VoiceThread, and GoReact provided effective pedagogical strategies that enhanced communications. The studies took place at a university that serves students from rural communities and therefore provides research about utilizing multisensory tools to improve learning for students in locations where access to higher education is challenged by geographical distances.
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Principal preparation programs have moved from lecture-based programs to programs that incorporate adult learning principles and provide learning experiences for students to practice leadership skills in classes and within their field experiences (Orr, 2006). Many principal preparation courses are offered online, and these courses should offer opportunities to practice and apply leadership skills and content. Multisensory tools are often employed to aid in creating learning opportunities that promote problem-solving and real-world experiences. Multisensory tools such as learning management systems like Blackboard and Canvas and virtual conferencing platforms like WebEx and Skype are commonly used to educate principal candidates in distance education. When preparing principal candidates, however, it is important to develop their leadership skills. In courses offered online, professors can use technology to address the candidates’ need to practice leadership skills. Also, faculty need to provide timely and formative feedback to develop these skills (LaFrance & Beck, 2014). These opportunities seem to be easier when done in person, so when done online, there needs to be an intentional design of activities that incorporate multisensory tools that present visual, auditory, and cues that provide authentic feedback.

There is evidence that simulations provide opportunities that match real-world experiences. In a study of a principal preparation program in the southwestern region of the United States, where the courses were delivered face-to-face with some hybrid courses, 52 candidates indicated that simulations provided them active learning that allowed them to frame issues, problem-solve, and collaborate (Oliver, Gordon, & Oliver, 2018). Those three products of active learning help professors create something close to real-world experiences.

Principal preparation programs offering online courses are growing for two reasons: to increase enrollment and provide access for students in remote areas. Specifically, some principal preparation programs that serve rural communities offer online courses to provide access to candidates who live far from an institution of higher education. Regardless of the reasons for offering online courses, technology offers valuable multisensory tools providing significant learning opportunities, ones that replicate real-world experiences.

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