"How to Make Smart Choices About Tech for Your Courses" (post) outlines practical strategies for finding tech that enhances your courses, content, and teaching -- and for avoiding "useless embellishment[s]."
- "It’s for anyone who is in the process of creating a new course or redesigning an old one and needs advice on which technologies to use, how to use them, and why."
A. Summary and Section Links
- When Shopping for Technology, Look for These Features
- "Does it align with my toughest teaching goals?"
- "Does it align with what we know about how people learn?"
- "Is it high quality?"
- "Is it a good value?"
B. Select Key Points
1. Key Starter Questions
- "What is the technology for?"
- "Is it for a course or a set of courses? A module? A particular activity?"
- "Thoughtful technology choices ... [a]re wedded to a specific discipline and course, and even to specific areas within a course."
- "What are your learning objectives and outcomes?"
- "Successful tech choices are, above all, goal-focused."
- "[H]ave your course goals and priorities at hand as you consider your technology options."
- "What are the hardest, or most failure-prone, aspects of what you’re teaching?"
- "[L]ist ... the pinch points — material that students repeatedly stumble over or just find boring; concepts that you find yourself having to reteach, time and again."
- Use technology to help with that pinch-point content, e.g. online games for learning terminology, supplemental videos embedded in D2L for likely necessary remediation, etc.
2. Some Things To Try
- "Set up a fast-paced, low-stakes quiz game that students play in class using their own mobile devices." Try Kahoot! or Socrative.
- "Have students use their own smartphones to take a virtual-reality tour of a cultural or historic site."
- "Ask students to tweet photos of something they see, while going about their day, that illustrates topics they’re learning about in your class."
- "Organize a blog for students to post accounts of their travel experiences during a study-abroad program."
- "Replace a traditional textbook with courseware that presents content in a personalized way and also tests students on the material as they work their way through it."
- "Use interactive multimedia that students can explore as an illustration of course content."
- "Produce your own narrated videos that students can watch online on their own time."
3. Sources of Inspiration
- "[L]ook back through scholarly articles you read and saved related to teaching."
- "Do any of them use technology in a way that appeals to you?"
- "P]erus[es] teaching-oriented journals for ed-tech ideas.
- "Tap your local colleagues for their expertise."
- "If you hear faculty members enthusing about a new tool or technique they are trying, corner them."
- "Talk with academics who are familiar faces at teaching conferences or who haunt e-learning centers."