Monday, October 3, 2011

Thinking about how to utilize technology in the classroom

Universities across the United States are trying to incorporate it in a meaningful way, from creating tech-centered living and learning communities, to innovating with podcasts. However, technology can be under-utilized or misused all together: it was this under-utilization and misuse that spurred us to think about the learning opportunities made possible through technology. Some of the issues we went over today were:

- How technology is utilized depends on the subject matter to be conveyed. How might various
disciplines differ in their use of technology? Are some tools inappropriate for some subject matter straight up?

- The role of technology in the classroom may become part of or reflect a teaching philosophy.
What are the pros and cons to using new forms of media/technology (i.e., social networking tools, videos, online resources) in the teaching process? How would they affect how educators see time in the physical classroom?

- Not all uses of technology are created equal. Technology is not going to be all good or all bad.
While Teaching Naked discussed the ways in which technology, specifically PowerPoint, can
be stifling and dry, PowerPoints can also be engaging, as seen in this video of Hans Rosling
(http://youtube/jbkSRLYSojo). Should educators be encouraged to learn about and incorporate
technology (creating videos, animations, discussion forums, classroom blogs, etc), or should the
focus be on maximizing educator effectiveness, regardless of the tools used in lecture? While
PPT is a familiar model, we do not want to limit our discussion to its use.

- Sometimes, technology is seen as a better, but direct, replacement of previous methods or tools
(ie using powerpoints to replace transparencies). Are there uses for technology beyond that
replacement model? How can one use technology in an innovative way?

- Even with all of the resources on campus, would some students be put at a disadvantage with the heavy use of technology in the classroom? The groups that first come to mind are some students with disabilities, as well as students that come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

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