Mod 2: Teaching with Technology

Teaching with Technology

Educators today should not ignore the call to incorporate the use of technology in their classrooms. Every day a new technology is developed; and every day the use of technology becomes more commonplace, especially as mobile technologies, such as the smart phone, evolve. People can obtain information with just a swipe of their finger on a device that is connected to the Internet. Educational institutions that encourage faculty to incorporate technology in the classroom will bring teaching and learning to the 21st century and help students to be successful in today’s high-tech society. In this blog, I will discuss a few technologies used in the college classroom, those which ones I embrace to enhance my student’s learning, those which require further training on my part, as well as ways to foster further technological and pedagogical professional development.

A Few Technology Resources

  1. Blackboard (Learning Management System – LMS)
  2. Smart Boards
  3. Classroom Networked Computers with Overhead Projectors
  4. WebEx and GoTo Meeting (Live conferencing software)
  5. Office 365, Office Online and Free Office Download

Embraced Technologies

I embrace all of the above mentioned technologies to enhance my classroom teaching. A LMS not only allows students easy access to instructional materials, it serves as a great, all-in-one communication and collaboration tool that can be used for online teaching as well as facilitating a face-to-face class. Technologies in the classroom, such as networked computers, overhead projectors, and smart boards, assist the instructor to bring active learning into the classroom. A college-wide E-mail system along with free software programs that enable students to create electronic documents that can be shared by everyone, creates a standard protocol for communication. Finally, being able to conduct live web conferences with students, especially those only enrolled in online courses, creates an atmosphere of collaboration, student engagement, and a sense of community in a cyberspace environment.

A Challenged Technology

The only technology listed above that I am uncomfortable using is the smart board. After participating in a half-day training session led by our smart board vendor, I admit that I have not spent any additional time learning how to effectively use it in my classroom. As Brigham (2013) states, it is easy to underutilize a smart board because effective training takes time. As a result, many faculty use it improperly (Brigham, 2013). Although smart boards are more commonly used in K-12 classrooms, they are more widely used in education-type college programs (pre-service K-12 teachers) (Brigham, 2013, p. 196). My only experience, thus far, has been to use the smart board to display my power points. The time required to learn this technology has been my enemy.

Professional Development (Smart Board)

Additional training on how to incorporate the features of the smart board into my classroom would need to be self-motivated. For example, I could visit the vendor’s website to learn how to use the smart board features. Instructional videos and scholarship of teaching and learning articles could be accessed through the Web; or, I could ask for assistance from a colleague who is proficient in using the smart board. Learning to effectively use the features of the smart board would enable me to bring more dynamic and active learning activities into my classroom.

Continued Assistance with Technology

Improving technological and pedagogical support should be the goal of any college, especially with technology constantly changing and evolving. According to Clemmons (2015), it literally takes a village to effectively get faculty on board with using technology in the classroom. Faculty assistance should come in the form of support from a college IT department, academic departments, colleagues, as well as professional development opportunities. In order to ensure that faculty effectively utilize technology in the classroom, they must be knowledgeable not only in their discipline, but also in how to integrate the technology and adapt their pedagogy (Matherson, Wilson, & Wright, 2014).

References

Clemmons, R. (2015). It takes a village: Boosting faculty instructional technology use. EDUCAUSE. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/events/educause-connect-san-diego/2015/it-takes-village-boosting-faculty-instructional-technology-use

Matherson, L. H., Wilson, E. K., & Wright, V. H. (2014). Need TPACK? Embrace sustained professional development. Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin81(1), 45-52.

Tara J. Brigham (2013) Smart Boards: A reemerging technology. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 32(2), 194-202, doi: 10.1080/02763869.2013.776903

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5 responses to “Mod 2: Teaching with Technology

  1. Sharon,
    I agree about colleges needing to develop a technology strategy so that they can incorporate it into their professional development program. A school without any technology training will not be utilizing technology in a meaningful way to engage students (Hawes & Hategekimana, 2010). Instructors tend to ape their instructors when they have no pedagogical training of their own. Older instructors often do not know how to use technical advances or how to construct lessons for them.

    I am seeing that firsthand here at my school. As a result I am looking to develop a m-learning app that is for multiple courses where instructors can take it, add their course specific materials to it, and use it in conjunction with the LMS. The advantage would be that students could access the app and thus the course with their mobile devices and be more effective in using their time to learn. It would also help the instructors manage their courses and add content that students would actually be engaged with.

    That may be my doctoral study. I am writing another prospectus for a case study research design with this in mind. Another instructor who uses technology had her course changed on her between semesters. Her LMS was completely outdated as a result of all the changes. This was a textbook and content change. She is struggling to cope with the changes. I think a standard app could help her to organize the new content quickly so that she could update her course and the materials in order to be effective.

    I also have an e-Text used in our history courses that most of our instructors are ignoring along with the additional content. The LMS is clunky at best. It is also not accessible with mobile devices. I want to explore using this app to make accessing the materials very easy to do so students will have less barriers to deal with. Also, it would remove barriers for the instructors as they could manage their classes a lot easier with the app via the use of school supplied iPads.

    References

    Hawkes, M., and C. Hategekimana. (2010). Impacts of mobile computing on student learning in the university: A comparison of course assessment data. J. Educational Technology Systems, 38(1), 63-74.

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  2. Sharon,

    Does your college use Wiki’s for collaborative learning opportunities?

    College and universities need to support not only access but training for technology. Our IT department does struggle trying to integrate new technologies with our LMS Sakai. I do not feel that Sakai is the most user friendly platform and our university will only allow us to use technologies that are housed within the LMS.

    Mark B

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  3. HI Mark, yes, our LMS (Blackboard) offers wiki’s, blogs, journals, and of course, discussion boards. We also have the newest version of Blackboard Learn because our system is managed by Blackboard. If we have any problems with the system, I just call them and they fix it! So, far, I have been very pleased with the Blackboard system and their support. What I find lacking is their professional development (training).

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  4. Sharon,

    I have also found that many LMS do not provide training to faculty. I think that is a missed opportunity to hear and mix it up with the classroom professors so future releases and upgrades can include additions that are helpful and relevant.

    Mark B

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  5. Mark, Blackboard does provide short videos. They will also come to campus for a large fee :))) ~ Sharon

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