Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Impact of Technology

As I look back on the way I studied in college in the 80's I know that technology has influenced the way I learn dramatically.  I was always one to take plenty of notes.  I didn't read a whole lot of textbook due to the type of notes I took from the professors.  Reflecting now I see that the way I learn has changed for the better.  Learning online has made me more aware of the subject matter that I study and I do a lot more research for facts. With the influx of the internet I can see how too much information can be detrimental to learning.  Not only does it affect my learning but it has affected the way I teach my classes.  I want them to know as much as possible but I want it to be accurate.  Checking and re-checking resources has been a time consuming matter but it makes the learning experience for me all the more interesting.  I never knew there were so many theories on learning out there. If there's one thing I 've learned it's not only to cite the source but verify the source.

Looking back on face to face to environments which for me was not to long ago, I see the need for it in undergraduate courses.  Students need to see the professor and believe what they are saying and trust them to give them correct information.  With an online  class its hard to trust someone you can't see.  Also, learning for me has become more in depth.  By that I mean that I take the time to understand everything and not just the parts that are pertinent to me.  I did that a lot in college.  Face to face environments, while purposeful, has its limitations. My attention span is not long so I can't sit and listen to anyone talk anymore.  I love learning at my own pace and getting information that I want out of the lesson.  The biggest difference in the two is collaboration.  I have communicated more with online students than I ever have in a F2F classroom and I have this new technology to thank for it. My communication skills have been increased and I express myself more online.  Is online better that face to face, I don't know but online sure is convenient.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

New Technologies

About a year ago I tried to incorporate using blackboard in the classrooms.  Blackboard is an online tool that is used for classes to communicate and submit assignments much like we do in online classes.  I wanted the technology department in our school system to use it so that we could share ideas that help us in the classroom and provide more resources to give our students.  The use of blackboard would help tremendously because it could cut down on email and conference calls and most of all meetings that take hours to complete.  The first response was that it would take time because it had to be set up and everyone would need to log in and make comments and responses almost daily.  A few were not sure about using it because they were used to the old way of communicating through email and phone calls and most of all text messages.  I tried to explain the relevance of it.  If we use it we are more apt to get our students involved in using it and making it a large part of our curriculum.  If we display confidence in it then students will take to it more readily than if we look like beginners ourselves. Lastly, I informed them of the satisfaction they would get out of using it and not have to check emails all day everyday. They could simply check the communication board and see if their questions were answered or not.  While I did not have success in doing it, a few of us have adopted the use of blackboard and one by one others are joining us.  It has become a most helpful tool to my overall instruction.


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