It was my senior year of high school when I received an email from Saint Norbert College regarding Research Fellowship opportunities. Intrigued, I examined the list and saw a link for the Full Spectrum Learning Research Fellowship for education majors. An application and an interview with the President of the Education Program at Saint Norbert College led to a position offering for the fellowship position.
Before sharing how Full Spectrum Learning impacted me, I want to share what Full Spectrum Learning is.
Full Spectrum Learning is an interactive framework that takes the form of a grid. The grid displays the combination of courses that are established from various levels of technology integration and student engagement. Technology integration varies from a non-digital course design to full digital course design. Student engagement varies from lecture-based instruction to an open learning environment.
The Full Spectrum Learning Team consisted of 4 other students, and we each had a main project we worked on for the initiative. My role on the team was to video-interview professors about their courses as well as a student who had taken their course so that a video could be created and uploaded onto our interactive grid on the Full Spectrum Learning website. Another student took my film and created these videos. Marketing was a role that two other students filled, and they created logos for t-shirts, mug designs, and other marketing materials to make our initiative known and get professors and students to participate. The last role was social media management. Amidst these roles were other projects that we each took on such as a research paper, presenting at forums, and attending conferences.
So, how did this fellowship impact me?
As a future educator, Full Spectrum Learning impacted my professional development by helping me learn of the various dynamics a classroom can hold through variation in technology integration and student engagement. My experience throughout grade school was what I knew, but the way my teachers decided to structure their classroom was not a universal means. Rather, the way my teachers decided to integrate technology and engage students was different from other school districts as well as how professors conducted their courses at the collegiate level. For example, my teachers throughout grade school would use smart boards to project lesson content and annotate it for classroom instruction. However, in other school districts, students may have had a classroom set of iPads to interact and annotate with the lesson content individually. At the collegiate level, most students have their own laptop, and professors use platforms such as Peardeck to share their presentations and engage students with the content,
assign students to post assignments on a website they create through WordPress, or share other databases to engage with content in diverse ways. Understanding this, I am excited to apply these variations based on the needs of my prospective students.
Another way Full Spectrum Learning has impacted me is that it helped me develop connections with several individuals across campus in departments I most likely would not have interacted with. I also met students I may have simply seen walking to class a few mornings more personally as I interviewed them about their experience in a course being added to the interactive grid.
Now, how has Full Spectrum Learning impacted the campus community?
Students at Saint Norbert College can use the Full Spectrum Learning research to discover what courses fit into each section of the interactive grid, and this will benefit them in understanding how to prepare for the class dynamics. Additionally, students can use the grid to overall see where the courses offered at Saint Norbert college fit in the grid. They can use this to enroll in courses varying in dynamics to embrace diverse teaching and learning practices and become more well-rounded individuals.
Professors also benefit from our research by recognizing where their course falls on the grid and then challenging themselves to offer courses that vary in teaching and learning practices. This helps the college as a whole be more diverse and meet the various learning styles of its students.
To conclude, Full Spectrum Learning has helped our campus community grow in unexpected ways, and I appreciate being able to have participated as a research fellow in its work.