The art of teaching pre-schoolers via IPads will be among the sessions available to teachers from Davenport's three Catholic grade schools on Jan. 3 at what could be the first of many day-long Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) workshops hosted by St. Ambrose.
Yes, pre-schoolers. Yes, iPads.
"It should be interesting to see how that all works out," SAU Teacher Education professor Richard Hanzelka said. "My view is that kids who are 3 and 4 years old are a whole lot more adept than many adults at handling some of that stuff. It's kind of in their genes."
Meeting the educational needs of today's more technologically savvy youngsters is a key reason St. Ambrose has joined a national movement to promote collaboration among educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
The January workshop is the first initiative of a St. Ambrose STEM committee chaired by Hanzelka.
Workshop instructors include Ambrose professors Sallee Beneke, Rachel Serianz and Courtney Walters, adjunct instructor Greg Bouljon and a handful of Quad Cities high school teachers.
Charity Campbell, Iowa's Teacher of the Year, will give a keynote address at 8:30 a.m. and also host sessions about bringing physical education into the classroom.
IPad sessions will be hosted by Mike Meeker of Apple Computers.
The day will include hourly morning sessions for teachers of pre-K through second grade, grades 3-5 and grades 6-8. Sessions for all attendees will take place in the afternoon.
Nearly 90 teachers from the Diocesan grade schools in Davenport have enrolled.
"I think it is a great story of Ambrose outreach and how we are working to prepare teachers and give them new ideas for teaching science, technology, engineering and math in their classes," said Sandra Cassady, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences.
More STEM workshops for teachers across the area may follow.
"We're hoping this is something that leads to grant funding that would allow us to expand and provide more training for teachers," Cassady said. "Helping teachers prepare is something that we as university should be more involved in."