Catching the technology wave
Today I have the pleasure of inviting Mary-Lynn Chambers, Assistant Professor of English at Elizabeth City State University, North Carolina, to PhD Talk. Dr. Mary-Lynn Chambers has her Ph.D. in Technical and Professional Communication from East Carolina University. She has taught English in Virginia and North Carolina at community colleges and universities. Her instructional focus is composition and literature, with a research focus in online education at HBCU schools. She enjoys interacting with her students and inspiring them to write better, think more critically, and love literature. This professor views the classroom as an opportunity to make a difference.
Have you ever been to the beach and joined the vacationers who are enjoying the entertainment that the ocean has to offer? If you have, then you will know there are times when you are hit with a wave that pulls you under and leaves you breathless and confused. During those moments, you wonder why you opted to enter the water in the first place. Then there are those times when you see the wave coming and you work with the wave to ride it into shore where you celebrate your success. At the beach, the difference between frustration and success is your ability to be able to catch the wave.
A successful beach vacation can create a temporary euphoria, but when the vacation is over and we return to work, the stresses of teaching often eclipse our earlier fun when we faced the daunting waves and won! Well, it is time that we learn how to make our instructional endeavors less stressful and more like a vacation by learning how to ride the technology wave rather than fighting against the wave. A different vision and a few strategic steps will help you leave behind the frustration and floundering and join the instructors who are celebrating their technology success.
Technology is here to stay, so let’s reduce the stress that technology creates and figure out how to incorporate some of it into our face-to-face and online classrooms. Our students are seeking the inclusion of technology during instruction (Jones & Johnson-Yale, 2005), so let’s increase our influence by learning how to effectively incorporate technology into our teaching (Ahlfeldt, Mehta & Sellnow, 2005). There are a few technological tools that are easily navigated, yet their inclusion in a learning environment will have a significant impact on the learning process.
If you have access to an iPhone or iPad, then record an instructional component with one of these devices. You can video an important part of a lesson as you are teaching it in the classroom. Also, you can record an event or activity outside the classroom. When you have the opportunity, go back to the recording and click on it. Then click on the box that indicates you want to upload it. One of the options available will be YouTube. Select YouTube and follow the easy steps . With a little patience, the video will be posted to YouTube. At that point, you have the option of editing it and making it private or public. Also, there are other instructional YouTube videos available, and a well-chosen video for your class can be a welcome addition.
PowerPoint with Voice-Over
The PowerPoint is a common technology used in the classroom, but in order to make it more multi-modal in an online environment, let’s add the voice-over component. Once you have completed the PowerPoint, go to slideshow and click on record, then start recording. You can advance from slide to slide with the space bar. Once you are done talking through the slides, press the escape key. If you are happy with the recording, then make sure you save it. This tool can be added to an online class site where the students have the information on the slides as well as your voice explaining the information or process.
Most students enjoy playing a game, so why not incorporate an online game into their learning process. This game can be used in a face-to-face classroom or posted online. The Educational Technology Network website provides instructions regarding the use of the Jeopardy game through a PowerPoint. This tool can be used as a review for a test or to heighten their awareness regarding what they know and don’t know concerning a certain topic.
These three suggestions are a few simple solutions to help manage the technology challenge that can be overwhelming at times. If you still feel anxious about the incorporation of these suggestions, then type in your question to YouTube and watch an instructional video concerning how to do the activity you are trying to do. It is time to join the fun by riding the technology wave. Start simply by trying just one of these activities. If you like it, then use it in a few different ways before you venture to try another one. Continued pedagogical development with the incorporation of technology should be a practice shared by all instructors (Tharp, 2006). Pretty soon, you too will be stress free as you incorporate a technology into your instructional time.
Ahlfeldt, S., Mehta, S., & Sellnow, T. (2005). Measurement and analysis of student engagement in university classes where varying levels of PBL methods of instruction are in use. Higher Education Research & Development, 24(1), 5-20.
Howell, D. (2001). Elements of effective e-learning: Three design methods to minimize side effects of online courses. College Teaching, 49(3), 87-90
Jones, S. & Johnson-Yale, C. (2005). Professors online: The internet’s impact on college faculty. First Monday Peer-Reviewed Journal on the Internet, 10(9). Retrieved from http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/1275/1195
Tharp, R.G. (2006). Four hundred years of evidence: Culture, pedagogy, and Native America. Journal of American Indian Education, 45(2), 6-26.
Dr. Chambers makes a very good point. It's not enough to schedule vacations or breaks to mitigate the stress of going to school; we need to find ways to do this daily. I've had pretty good luck just thinking about what's causing my stress (and that alone helps reduce it); but it also helps to talk about this with other students. Frequently they are experiencing the same issues, and a conversation about it can be very therapeutic.