I am a huge advocate for appropriate use of technology in teaching. Technology is embedded in the millennial generation. They have been exposed to computers from a very early age and often find it difficult to tear themselves away from their tiny PCs (i.e., mobile phones). While I know that technology can be useful for enhancing teaching, I am also keenly aware of how technology can be a distraction, e.g., glancing at Facebook or WhatsApp during class. Therefore, I often consider my use of technology for teaching as somewhat of a ‘battle’. Specifically, I need to find ways to incorporate technology in my teaching so that it is more interesting that the students Facebook newsfeed or WhatsApp group chat.
I incorporate technology into my courses in a variety of ways as follows:
Technology allows me to create a learning environment, in which students can learn at their own pace. For instance, my use of YouTube videos means that students can replay videos to re-watch challenging topics. See example below:
Access to Materials/Resources
Technology provides a one-stop resource shop for my students. For each course website, I upload materials to supplement lectures, practice questions, forum discussions, rubrics, etc.
Technology facilitates more efficient testing with better feedback. For example, when using summative multiple choice quizzes in my large classes (approximately 300 students), students receive their grade immediately after the exam, and are able to see which answers were wrong along with the correct answer.
Usefulness for Certain Topics
I try to fit the appropriate piece of technology for the topic being taught. For instance, if I am teaching a topic that is conducive to quick true/false questions after the topic, then I use Kahoot! to gauge students’ learning in class. Here are some example Kahoot! activities that I have incorporated in my recent classes.
Making Learning Fun
I use technology to make learning fun. For me, this is a major selling point of technology in teaching. Gone are the days (or should be) of a lecturer standing in front of a class and reading from a book for three hours. Technology allows me to engage students in ways that they enjoy the learning process. For instance, I add ‘gamification’ to my leadership session (entirely online and self-paced), so that students can level up when they complete learning objectives (from ‘Leadership Novice’ to ‘Great Leader’).
I also recently added course badges which act similar to ‘Achievements’ or ‘Trophies’ for accomplishing certain tasks in a course. Some examples from my OB course are shown below:
As stated in my teaching philosophy, I use Prezi to frame each class’ learning objectives in a big picture (see an example here). Often times, I use a photo that tells a story about how the learning objectives are connected. In a recent class, a student exclaimed that one thing she and her friends look forward to each class is seeing how I’m going to illustrate the learning objectives in a ‘story’ form.