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NNU receives $4.6 million grant for development of teaching methods

November 26, 2012, 4:49 pm
Learning Commons Rendering - View from campus lawn - 12-30-10
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The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation granted Northwest Nazarene University $4.6 million to establish the NNU Center of Innovation in Teaching and Learning and proceed with the construction of the NNU Learning Commons.

This grant is the result of a growing relationship and partnership between NNU and the Albertson Foundation,” said NNU President David Alexander. “Our faculty will continue to work closely with the Albertson Foundation around matters of teacher preparation to equip existing teachers to better understand and use technological means for their teaching ends. This center will be at the forefront of equipping Idaho’s teachers, preparing the next generation of teachers and developing our faculty.”

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is seeking to equip and train the next generation of teachers to improve student achievement by establishing the NNU Center of Innovation in Teaching and Learning. This center will focus on blended learning—the convergence of teaching strategies and technology.

“Students at all grade levels desperately need teachers who not only don’t fear technology but embrace it to help students adapt to the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century,” says Jamie MacMillan, executive director of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation.

Eric Kellerer, Ed.D., director of the NNU Center of Innovation in Teaching and Learning, says that for the last 20 years, educators were promised that technology would transform education.

“At the same time, we have seen huge leaps in understanding the process of learning (the pedagogy) for students. Unfortunately, those two themes, technology and pedagogy, have failed to come together,” explains Dr. Kellerer. “This is the time. We stand at the precipice of a generation in which there will be a convergence of the technical with the educational.”

The Centers will be launched in the spring of 2013. In addition to cutting-edge training for Idaho teacher candidates, the Centers will also offer development training on blended learning techniques as well as opportunities to participate in classroom research projects for current preschool through 12th grade (P-12) teachers and administrator professionals. Reports on research conducted at the Centers will be published semi-annually and a conference will be hosted annually.

Paula Kellerer, Ph.D., dean of the School of Education, Social Work and Counseling at Northwest Nazarene University emphasizes that blended learning is not about utilizing the latest and greatest technology in the classroom–it’s about providing personalized learning for kids.

“The ultimate objective of the centers is to improve student achievement in P-12 classrooms through the effective use of technology,” says Dr. Kellerer. “It’s not about finding one solution that fits all, but finding many solutions that can be used at the right time for the right student. Every student can learn. Every student can succeed. We are here to help teachers find resources, equip them to use those resources effectively and to share the stories of success with other teachers, with Idaho, and the Northwest.”

Idaho has significant student achievement challenges. The state ranks 47th in the nation for the percentage of high school graduates who go on to some form of education beyond high school and 46th for the percentage of college students who progress from their freshman year to sophomore year.

“We cannot stand back and be passive observers,” says Dr. Eric Kellerer. “We need to get in the fray. Idaho can be the leader in ushering in a new day in teaching and learning.”

Northwest Nazarene University is a nonprofit Christian university located in Nampa, Idaho. NNU offers over 60 areas of study, master’s degree programs in eleven disciplines, accelerated degree programs, concurrent credit for high school students, and a variety ofcontinuing education credits. In addition to its 90-acre campus located in Nampa, the University also offers programs online as well as in Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls, and in cooperation with programs in 10 countries. For more information, visit www.nnu.edu.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is a Boise-based, private family foundation committed to limitless learning for all Idahoans. Since 1997, the Foundation has invested more than $500 million to improve education in Idaho. For more information about the Foundation visit www.jkaf.org.


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