Technology simplification and ease of use has made it possible for instructors to go from the passive consumer to the active producer when it comes to web content.
As we are more and more often are asking students to create their own digital artifacts, sometimes even replacing the traditional written paper, it becomes increasingly important to teach the art of storytelling through that medium. Through the Media Commons we have begun to teach a workshop on digital storytelling which teaches students how to put digital media to work for them. Just with written stories the employment of the 3 act story structure is relevant. It is important to take into account, that while the media piece will take less time in some cases to consume, it can sometimes take exponentially longer to create. Instead of just creating the story in your mind you then have to go out and create the visual pieces and put them in some semblance of order. Keeping in mind the importance of capturing the audiences attention and getting your message across.
I think the tips for teachers highlighted in this article were really well thought out and helpful. The one that stood out to me was choosing the “appropriate” technology for the lesson they want to teach. Using a technology because its trendy is like wearing skinny jeans when they just don’t flatter your body. It will just end up making you look silly and you may lose credit with your students when it comes to fashion advice later on. I think one piece that may be missing is to set your students up for success and providing resources for students to get help with the new technology if it falls beyond their level of expertise. From what I’ve experienced, students don’t really care if you aren’t an expert on how to use Google Docs, but they do need to know where to go when they have questions. I have also found that one of the biggest roadblocks for faculty using new technologies in the classroom is the fear that they need to be experts in whatever tool they want to implement. This is just not the case when there is so much information available to students on campus and on the web.
I thought the table shared in this article was interesting and brought a new perspective to several familiar tools. I currently teach tagging to my students mainly as a practical organizational skill and mostly with content that they themselves create. I also find it helpful to use tags as a way to cite the source of media content as students collect digital artifacts from around the web.
Looking at tagging as a way of constructing knowledge may be better left for a class that is prepared to spend time speaking to the art of folksonomy. For me and my students its important to understand what tools are out there and how they can best help them to complete their assignments, not just in my class but all of their classes.
While I appreciate all that Wiki’s can do for us, I’m much more interested in student created spaces that they can develop and use as they wish.
As far as insights go about the application of technology into the classroom, I have a few that really stood out to me. First, the saying that “change is the only thing that remains constant” is definitely true of technology as well. It seems that as many new tools crop up on the web, just as many are discontinued without notice. It is important to keep on the cutting edge and keep a constant eye open for new tools available and more effective ways to engage students with these tools.
Second, its not enough to just implement the tool and hope that it does its job. As instructors we have to engage WITH the students through these tools and we have to develop a curriculum that reinforces the power of the tool.