What, then, is the critical element for teaching success? I say the best teachers are learning driven; their teaching is wholly focused on developing a deep understanding of the subject matter in the minds of their students. This entails much more than presenting information. Learning-driven teachers don’t simply wish or hope their students learn -- they take actions to see that the desired kind of learning takes place.
As an integral part of students' daily lives, mobile technology has changed how they communicate, gather information, allocate time and attention, and potentially how they learn. The mobile platform's unique capabilities — including connectivity, cameras, sensors, and GPS — have great potential to enrich the academic experience.
Learners are no longer limited to the classroom's geographical boundaries, for example; they can now record raw observations and analyze data on location. Furthermore, mobile technology platforms let individuals discuss issues with their colleagues or classmates in the field. The ever-growing mobile landscape thus represents new opportunities for learners both inside and outside the classroom.
It’s been a while since I’ve gently prodded you about pedagogical scholarship. It’s the beginning of the summer and although I know that some of you do teach for all or part of the summer, there are others who don’t.
Pedagogical scholarship can renew and energize teaching that has gotten a bit tired. It reaffirms the importance, relevance, and value of what teachers try to do in the classroom. It can motivate change and encourage risk taking.
I am not an intellectual, leading expert, or public scholar. I am a rank-and-file academic with the job of balancing respectable research with acceptable teaching evaluations and sitting on enough committees to not be asked to sit on more committees. And in my spare time, I run what is arguably one of the most influential academic accounts on social media: Shit Academics Say: a parody Twitter account born out of frustration brought unexpected rewards — connecting with a previously unknown community and expanding research opportunities.
At The Teaching Professor Technology Conference, you’ll take a close look at the diverse technologies that are influencing the ways teachers teach and learners learn. Whether the courses you teach are face-to-face, online, blended, flipped, or all of the above, the conference will help you take a more thoughtful approach to creating a better learning environment. You will leave invigorated with new ideas, information, and inspiration on the most effective ways to incorporate technology into your teaching.
Kevin Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University, is trying to reframe the way both students and faculty members approach assessments by changing the environment in which students are evaluated, relabeling quizzes and exams as “learning checks” and “learning celebrations.”
I get it. This is not a college-student problem (I’ve been to faculty meetings). It’s a human problem. But I’m a college instructor, and so classrooms have become my sites of technological resistance and rebellion. It was time for me to usher in an era of digital death, at least for three 50-minute stretches a week.
After four years of teaching, I could not bear to look at one more student smiling at his or her crotch — the universally preferred location to keep one’s phone for "surreptitious" texting. (Note to students: If you’re smiling in that direction, your attempts at stealth are going to get noticed.)
Implementing the principles of universal design in online learning means anticipating the diversity of students that may enroll in your course and planning accordingly. These ten key elements will greatly enhance the accessibility and usability of your course for students with and without disabilities.
When we consider the future roles of digital technology in higher education, it is often helpful to think in terms of trajectories rather than predictions. Predictions are remarkably fragile things. Any unforeseen factor will render the prediction false or off-target, and as those variables increase, so too does the likelihood that the prediction will fail. Predictions also tend to be projections of the current and the known, ornamented with something that provides a futuristic hue. In the case of digital technology, given the acceleration of change—enabled by the very things whose course we are trying to predict—the conundrum of predictions may be at its most acute.
This fall I will be teaching rhetoric at the University of Iowa. As it will be my first time back in the classroom in two years, I’ve been working hard to prepare — reading books and essays on rhetoric, deciding on readings, and thinking about assignments, assessments, and in-class activities. I am almost childishly excited to be teaching again, and so I’ve thrown myself into preparation; I am determined to get it right.
But as I prepare, one question keeps jumping out at me, stubbornly refusing to go away: How do I balance my desire to integrate student-centered learning practices with my almost pathological need to have every last bit of the course planned out and thought through?
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