Technology expert addresses Limerick students

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

A LEADING web-based education expert has addressed students at a northside school.

A LEADING web-based education expert has addressed students at a northside school.

Rushton Hurley of California is considered one of the world’s leading speakers on education technology.

And he has addressed students and teachers at Salesians School in Fernbank about revolutionary new approaches in the classroom.

Mr Hurley’s visit to Limerick came about as part of the friendship link which has been created between Limerick and Santa Clara over the past four years.

He was previously a teacher in Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, which sent a marching band to take part in the 2010 International Band Parade - only for flight delays to hamper their arrival.

Speaking at Salesians School, Mr Hurley said he hopes to help the teachers at Salesians see what technology can do to make their profession and their students’ educational experiences more engaging and effective.

“It’s an exciting time, in that truly powerful software tools are freely available to us,” he explained, “I will show the teachers and describe possibilities with a dozen or so software resources. There is every chance that one or two of these software tools will appeal to each person in the room. In the United States teachers want to use technology more and more in the class room, but often don’t know where to start, and find the dizzying array of seemingly constantly changing sites intimidating.”

Mr Hurley founded and is executive director of the non-profit Next Vista for Learning, which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students everywhere at http://NextVista.org.

At Stanford University his graduate research included using speech recognition technology with beginning language students in computer-based role-playing scenarios.

In the 1990s his work with teenagers at a high school in San José, California led him to begin using internet and video technologies to make learning more active, helping him reach students who had struggled under more traditional approaches.

He added: “There are all kinds of free collaborative and digital media tools and resources that we can use to tell the stories of those who make their communities better, of communities around the world, and of ways to help kids understand the possibilities for their futures. My hope is that the exploration of such tools will be both productive for their clubs generally and fun for the members personally, though I know for many they will need to see that in action.”