What is the Importance of Engaging your Students with Technology?

First of all, it’s important to clear the air by dispelling a fallacy: More technology does not, necessarily, a better class make. However, the Internet is, increasingly, how the world communicates information and ideas; ignoring that shift is tantamount to rejecting books as inferior to aural storytelling. But when we do introduce new technology into a class, it is very important to always consider, as we always do regardless of the tool or activity or assigned reading, whether that tech is truly necessary.

How do I Engage my Students with Technology?

Is using more technology in your course a good idea? Hear what these students have to say about the ups and downs of their experiences when teachers use specific technology in class.

[Source: http://bcove.me/1ezeqj66]

How do my Students Engage with Technology?

There are literally countless ways in which students can engage with technology for the class (see tools in Grow Skills, Manage Learners, etc., on this site!). But how about a specific example?

Student Blogs in the Classroom

Students create their own blogs to submit their assignments. These blogs are open to the public. Students post to their own blog as well as monitor and make comments on other student blogs.

Example: ENGL F271 Student Online Literary Journal (Student written, student edited, student produced)

Example: Art/Mus/Thr F200X Student Blogs

Lisa Kljaich, the instructor for Art/Mus/Thr F200X,  talks about why using blogs has been a good way to engage students:

  • It raises the bar.  When students start seeing the work of the peers, it generally elevates the level of the presentations after the first few assignments.
  • It provides real life feedback.  Some of my students have received comments from the living artists that they featured.  How cool is that?
  • Music, plays and film.  The ability to imbed videos from YouTube has allowed students to present the performing arts in a much more vivid format.
  • Some of my students have even done video blogs.  Although these are frequently not very professional, it does give students another way to present what they know while getting away from having to write.  This works well for students who aren’t good writers.  See this blog:  http://daleowen.wordpress.com .
  • Visual appeal and artistic creativity can be included in the blog format. Discussion Boards weren’t nearly as visually stimulating, nor are they very personal.
  • The instructor isn’t the only bad guy.  If a presentation is deficient, students usually point that out.  Most of the time the students will point out missing content or citations with a level of diplomacy that is admirable. That means I’m not the big old bad instructor that doles out capricious bad grades. I love that.
  • Blogging is a skill that has real life applications. Blogs can be monetized and several of my students have done that while taking the class.  Journalists, and aficionados of all types of human activities can make money by blogging. In addition to the course content, the students learn a real-life skill.  One of my students went on to blog about Native Alaskan culture and politics.
  • Easy access to internet references.  Most students are utilizing online sources for their presentations, and they are required to cite them.  If the reader wants to learn more, they can.  This semester I have already been directed to some excellent websites and video presentations by my students.

Video

Use video to engage students – here are some ideas for you, as the instructor to create, or for your students to create to show understanding.

Getting Started

One of the best ways you can get started integrating technology in your course is to tour this site’s write-ups on the many tools and concepts that may benefit you. Consider this entire site, as well as the Designers at eLearning who put this site together, as your number one resource!

 

About the Author:

Chris was a teacher before he became an instructional designer, and since he was a child he’s studied the craft of communication through story. Though his specialty is English, Chris is fascinated with all languages: verbal and nonverbal, binary and intuitive, mathematical and cultural. In his free time he studies the effect of technological innovation on the fundamentals of narrative; narrative, he believes (while admitting his bias), is the fundamental structure of knowledge.

This page was last updated on : Sep 23, 2014