TEACHING IN THE CLASSROOM
In face-to-face (in residence) courses, I typically incorporate technologies that best serve that day’s objectives. For instance, I typically reserve PowerPoint for dense readings or content-heavy lectures, where the objective is to clarify and convey new information. I find that the relatively static and linear nature of PowerPoint can oftentimes stifle discussion or reflection, as students seem to spend more time focusing on what appears on the slides rather than what’s being said. Conversely, the fluid nature of the presentation Prezi allows for a more dynamic presentation of ideas and can thus facilitate more class discussion. For instance, some affordances of Prezi include the toggling back and forth between slides, the “mapping” of relationships or “the big picture,” and easy access to multimedia materials (video clips, music, etc.) While I do not mean to suggest that the technology necessarily “determines” participation, I do tend to rely on technologies for different purposes, objectives and practices. Samples of in-residence teaching materials are included below.
Sample PowerPoint Presentations:
Course: Cultural Aspects of the Media
Course: Political Economy of Communications
Sample Prezi Presentations:
Course: Social Media
I’ve also had students utilize social media platforms across several courses including blogs, Wikis and a Facebook page where students collaborate on course notes, contribute current events, links and other resources related to course material. We’ve also used these spaces to make course assignments publicly accessible, such as hosting Final Projects (which are really worth taking a look!):
- Course Blog for The Political Economy of Communications
- Course Wiki for Social Media
- Course Site for Social Media
In the online environment I’ve found that consistency is key. Since students are largely handling the technology themselves (rather than me “presenting” the technology in the physical classroom), the most important consideration is that the technology assists in clearly communicating course content. The self-guided learning experience shouldn’t force students to master a myriad of new technologies each week (e.g. PowerPoint one week, Prezi or Voice Thread the next); rather, the use of technology should assist in helping students master the course’s learning objectives. Using technology for the sake of technology can undermine the learning experience, no matter how “cool” it might be!
In online courses I typically utilize text-based websites embedded with multimedia examples and applications, but have also created audio-visual presentations in Adobe Presenter for weekly lessons for student viewing, as well.
Sample Adobe Presenter presentations [these presentations would normally be broken up into 3-4 shorter files]:
Course: The Political Economy of Communications
Sample Google Sites