Teaching New Media Literacy Skills without Technology

Let me start this post by saying, “I LOVE TECHNOLOGY!” I do; I love how it makes the world smaller and larger simultaneously. I love that I have all of human knowledge at my fingertips, available within an instant. I love that, when someone says, “Hey, that’s that guy from that movie! You know, the one where Keanu Reeves pretends he can act!” I can have an answer for them in 10 seconds (the answer is Gary Oldman, by the way).

However, as much as those of us with ready access might feel that smartphones, laptops, and tablets are ubiquitous, the fact is that they’re not. Just a few short years ago, before I made the transition to my new life as a professor, I was a classroom teacher. {…}

2 Problems with Flipping the Classroom

There has been a lot of talk lately about this idea of “flipping the classroom”. For those of you not familiar with this concept, it most often involves putting teacher lectures and explanations on video, and hosting those videos online so that students can watch them outside of school; teachers can then spend more time working one on one or with small groups of students during class time. It can also encompass any kind of plan where technology accessed outside the classroom replaces the traditional lecture format. {…}

Google Glass and the Future of Education

“When you grow up, you won’t be walking around everywhere with a calculator in your pocket, so you’d better learn this!” How many of us heard some version of that statement as justification for the rote memorization of times tables, or the endless repetition of problem sets? I know I did. But we ARE carrying calculators in our pockets now, aren’t we? My iPhone is never more than 5 feet away, and it’s not only a calculator, but a portal to access the collective knowledge of the entire human race for all of history. Take that, 3rd grade teacher! {…}

The Case for Wikipedia in the Classroom

I’ve heard this comment time and time again from professors and teachers alike: “Do NOT use Wikipedia to write *insert name of boring assignment here*” But is this really the best approach? I have many memories of pulling yellowing and slightly funky smelling World Book encyclopedias off the shelf of the school library, opening my college ruled notebook, and scratching away at a report. Certainly, many of us have those same memories. The location of the encyclopedias and other tomes on the shelves of the library lent them a kind of gravitas that appears to be lacking with modern repositories of information. Today’s educators bemoan the inaccuracies of Wikipedia, and students’ reliance on the copy/paste function of their word processing software. {…}
I put forth, though, that the problem isn’t Wikipedia.