The beginning of the spring 2020 semester was very promising, and students returned ready to learn and continue advancing in the program. Many students were taking their third or fourth course in their track focus-area, including Learning Analytics, Startup UNC, and Emerging Technologies, among other courses. Outside of the classroom, three MEITE students and an alum were selected to pitch at Innovate Carolina’s annual showcase event, which was scheduled for April 2020.
We were also proud to announce that MEITE students collaborated on an iBook titled In-Progress: Ideas, Insights, and Innovations to Propel the Future of Education that is currently available for download on Apple Books. Each student authored a separate chapter on a topic that interested him/her/them, and example topics range from teaching culture in VR and building entrepreneurial self-efficacy in girls of color through leadership development to redesigning curricula for music and climate change education. The goal moving forward is for each new cohort to add its own edition to the “In-Progress” book series.
As the semester progressed, COVID-19 too impacted the MEITE program. During spring break, Carolina shifted all of its courses to remote instruction, and the MEITE students’ proclivity for educational technologies and innovation helped make this transition a smooth one. Remote classes were hosted on Zoom, and students were able to continue collaborating with one another and completing their assignments while staying safe. This remote instruction will continue into the summer and conclude with a virtual Pitch Day.
With an eye toward the next cohort, the MEITE team attended and recruited at many events this semester. First, they began building stronger connections with Carolina’s on-campus innovation ecosystem, attending events hosted by Innovate Carolina and connecting with other campus departments. During the event, they learned about innovative initiatives being facilitated by Launch Chapel Hill, the Computer Science Department, Honors Carolina, The Entrepreneurship Center, CUBE, 1789 Lab, and others. Aliyah Benton shared highlights of the MEITE program to an audience made up of faculty and staff who work in innovation. She also attended the 1789 Venture Lab Networking Night, where students with business ventures came to connect with one another.
MEITE was also well-represented at North Carolina’s signature edtech conference — the North Carolina Technology in Education Society (NCTIES) 2020 Vision Conference in Raleigh. There the MEITE team members connected with prospective students, colleagues, and educators while networking with exhibitors. They shared details of the program with over 100 people. In addition, MEITE program director Todd Cherner led a session titled “Blending Digital Annotation into Classroom Instruction” that featured tools for annotating digital texts, videos, and images. There were several dozen teachers in attendance and not an empty chair to be had.
Lastly, MEITE hosted a variety of virtual information sessions and one-on-one campus visits, and fielded many informational phone calls from prospective students. We had a successful recruitment season and are looking forward to seeing how the seeds we sowed this semester will help the MEITE program grow in the future.