Posted by: codecalla | March 22, 2015

Teaching with Technology

While teaching at a community college, different technologies are used to make my job easier, but sometimes technology failures cause more problems than technology seems to be worth.  One of the basic technologies is the course website which allows students to maintain knowledge of their grades, access assignments, and communicate with me.  Most of the places I teach require the use of the course website and postings of grades, which only the students can access.  Problems can occur when the course website goes down and students cannot access the site.  Usually such inconveniences are infrequent, but occasionally they cause students to have to resubmit their assignments.  I remind students they should always save their work in at least three different mediums, because computers, flash drives, and websites fail far too often to trust.  Sometimes they leave it to chance, and the results are unpleasant.  Technology failures have driven students to course failure, tears, and frustration.

Another technology that we use frequently would be overhead projectors that are linked to the computers, laptops, or a dvd player.  It’s helpful to access the equipment for presentations, lectures, and entertainment.  For my humanities course, I have shown documentaries, films, and short clips so that students have a visual understanding of the material.  The colleges offer training in using different presentation formats including Prezi and PowerPoint.  Another piece of technology that is available is the use of the iPad.  One university is working to upgrade classrooms to use iPads in the classroom instead of desktop computers.  This university offers training sessions for faculty to incorporate the iPads into class assignments and discussions.  Textbooks are available through digital means, and an iPad is a wonderful tool to access texts.  Tablets have different access points than laptops, but if classrooms have the WiFi capability this allows interactive collaboration without computer labs.  Some colleges do not have enough computer lab space for classrooms, because computer labs are in high demand.  One drawback is that overhead projectors may cause some difficulty in understanding the material, especially if students have a learning disability.  Faculty must ensure that all students have equal access to education in order to comply with the ADA (Higher Education).

Within the course we use wikis, sometimes as a class collaboration and sometimes to create an entertaining presentation of information.  I have been considering how to use them with argument essays or for other major essays.  Collecting information, cataloging, and ranking the quality of the research can be difficult.  A wiki page could be helpful if students use it to evaluate information or to present information.  Another course tool we use is an online journal, the journal is similar to a blog, but it is personal for the student.  It can be very effective to help students to connect with material and to keep track of the information that they are processing.  I haven’t used blogs in the course yet, but they are available if I choose to enable them.  Blogs can be useful if the responses are targeted to relate to the course material or topics that interest the students.  Diversity of students and their learning styles could impact their ability to navigate technology in the classroom.  “But, a deep awareness of diverse learning styles requires a commitment to the belief that all students can be successful learners” (Guild, 2001).

References

Guild, Pat Burke.  (2001).  Diversity, learning and culture.  Retrieved 22 March, 2015 from http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Learning%20Styles/diversity.html

Higher Education Compliance Alliance. (n.d.). Americans with Disabilities Act & Section 504. Retrieved from http://www.higheredcompliance.org/resources/disabilities-accommodations.html


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