More Than Just Shiny Objects

Last Friday I had the opportunity to speak at the Research on Teaching and Learning Summit  at Kennesaw State University, co-organized by my friend and colleague Michele DiPietro, executive director of Kennesaw’s Center for Excellent in Teaching and Learning. Michele asked me to share some ideas on incorporating technology in teaching, and so I presented “More Than Just Shiny Objects: Using Technology to Support Student Learning.” (Thanks to Susan Shadle way back when for the title suggestion!)

Here’s the prezi I used, which should give a sense of the teaching principles and practices I shared with the group at Kennesaw.

I opened with a Poll Everywhere prompt I’ve used during other events: “List 3-5 technologies you have used (or seen used) in teaching contexts.” The results? Here’s a word cloud:

EdTech Examples - Kennesaw StateI’m pretty sure this is the first time “clickers” was the most frequent response to this question. I’m not sure if the faculty in attendance were just being nice to me or if clickers are a popular educational technology in Georgia, but it was a good sign either way! The other popular answers — Blackboard, YouTube, PowerPoint, Google — I’ve seen many times when asking this question. SMART Boards don’t usually come up, so their mention here struck me as interesting. The technology is more popular in K12 settings, so I suspect it was the education professors in the audience submitting those responses. Not on the list of responses: WordPress, ArcGIS, and Github, all terms I would expect to see if I asked this question on my own campus, particularly with our digital humanities group.

I like asking this Poll Everywhere question at the start of my talks on technology, since it gives me a sense of the technology backgrounds of the faculty in the room. It also serves to activate their prior knowledge about educational technology, which (in theory) helps them make more sense of the presentation that follows. And starting a talk with an activity sets a good tone, I think, for the rest of the session.

Ending a talk with an activity works well, too. I like to ask participants to do some brainstorming, applying one or more of the ideas and examples mentioned in the talk to their own teaching practice, so they leave the session with something they can use. This time I asked participants to respond to the following question, first discussing it in small groups, then submitting their responses via Poll Everywhere: “What’s one idea you now have for using technology to support student learning?”

There were some creative responses to this prompt, and I promised the Summit participants that I would share their collected ideas here on my blog. I talked about the use of technology to turn classrooms into learning communities, and I wanted to demonstrate a version of that through the talk. See below for the list. Hopefully, you’ll find something there that sparks your own creative use of educational technology. Thanks, Michele and Kennesaw State, for inviting me to campus!

What’s one idea you now have for using technology to support student learning?

  • Could you use digital post-a-notes on an SMART board to have an interactive whole-class discussion on connections among concepts. Then share the SMART page for critique with students.
  • using prezi concept maps to display learning misconceptions and help students make connections
  • Use multi scale ideas to introduce newer concepts in Calculus: function > limit at a point > continuity at a point > differentiability at a point etc.
  • Use Twitter to identify positive or negative management behaviors as they occur.
  • In intro physics – use twitter for students to post photos or descriptions of evidence of electric charge in everyday life
  • twitter as a asynchronous tool for learning communities.
  • I will have students take pics of their responses to word problems in chemistry and have them email the responses to me, so I can show the class an
  • I had not previously considered using the post it idea to map philosophy debates
  • Learning communities through blogging what was read and have students post their thoughts on each other’s interpretation prior to class.
  • Twitter for culture class, tweeting representation of Hispanic culture, product, practice, perspective.
  • com to track time use to determine their REAL goals and priorities
  • To help students connect what they learn in classroom with their lives and to create community–Twitter–taking photos of world that might relate to course concept, e.g. “Romanticism”–how does that manifest in their lives? Would strive for G rating….
  • Introductory students doing presentation do class not just adv students
  • Colored post-its for sharing responses to bio-ethical or student perspective questions with biology students, use post-its to group attitudes
  • Diagramming calculus topics using multi scale concept map before each test and before final
  • Geography real world examples with twitter
  • Blogs, discussion. To create authentic audience.
  • poll everywhere and word clouds
  • Using authentic audiences
  • Using visualization software to see how students conceptualize problems.
  • Use tiki toki for first year students to identify their personal timeline and events that resulted in them making the decision to attend college
  • Wheels on chairs!
  • The quote, “Students are producers of knowledge, not mere consumers.”
  • Darn it! I have 2 go get a Twitter account now so that my Meteorology students can tweet about clouds and current weather conditions.
  • Mixing use of clickers and pollev with prezi
  • Twitter and blogging
  • Use Twitter for student questions on assignments.
  • Multi scale concept maps.
  • Twitter
  • Class FAQ for future classes.
  • Twitter with pre-service teachers to report on great classroom practices they are observing
  • implement polling application to teach elementary statistics to create dynamic learning
  • Using Twitter to build nutrition learning community.
  • Colored post-its
  • Twitter


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