Why is it important to use technology in your courses?
One of the important things to remember is that it is not
important to use technology. Technology is not necessarily
a time-saving device. However, if you are interested in using
technology for group work, it acts as an agency for students
to develop their ideas. It allows us to work collaboratively
How do your students benefit from your innovative, technology-enhanced
Writing is a major component in my courses. Students are
able to use the electronic medium to interact with their peers,
thus become self-critics and editors of each other's work.
Peer evaluation is such an invaluable experience for my students
because they are engaged in an ongoing assessment of their
own learning. I use discussion forums and student presentations,
all of which are well-documented online. This reflects the
trajectory of learning each student goes through over time.
Some students are resistant to technology so I also give
what I called a corporatise yet cynical rationale as to why
technology will be beneficial for them. Their future employers
may not require them to know about Gwendolyn MacEwan's poetry
but they will require them to know about computer and the
Internet. I think that in my courses my students will gain
this viable and important learning experience.
What are some of the challenges you encountered?
Student resistance was an issue for me. The resistance may
be due to the fact that students have different prior experience
with technology and that they have different access. I realize
that I need to be receptive to these differences and be flexible
in designing and delivering the courses. For instance, I redesigned
an assignment and the conference structure for one of my course
to allow small group discussion. I need to consistently seek
alternatives to accommodate whatever circumstances may arise.
Technology has transformed me in a wonderful way. The first
time I used PowerPoint point presentation I forgot how it
worked and a student had to come up to help me. This new experience
humbled me as a teacher. In my students' perspectives, I become
less an authoritative figure and they themselves have tremendous
potential for success.
Another pragmatic challenge is technical support from our
Faculty. We need to understand that technology breaks down
and support is crucial for professors who want to use technology.
Do you find your experience with technology rewarding? How
do you benefit from it both professionally and personally?
It is a very rewarding experience for me. It does require
tremendous commitment and extra work. I tend not to distinguish
between my teaching and my research because they interweave.
Both my research and teaching benefit from any innovative
direction I take. For instance I am giving papers on various
topics about teaching with electronic technology in my discipline.
Personally, I think it has been very interesting this year.
I have some fabulous students. They appreciate their own struggle
in developing innovative learning methods, as well watching
me develop innovative teaching methods. As a result the quality
and depth of our rapport is often more profound than in the
past. I enjoy this a lot and respect my students.
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