Four Tips for Incorporating New Technology In and Out of the Classroom
- Ditch your static slide presentations. If your growing weary of using the same old 35 mm slides and PowerPoint just isn’t enough to keep the attention of your students, consider using a more engaging format to make your lecture content come to life. Flowgram (www.flowgram.com) allows you to pull together web pages, PowerPoint presentations, videos, documents, photos, and other web-based elements to create a multimedia presentation with a guided narrative presentation. “Flowgram is a fantastic interactive communication tool both inside and outside the classroom–for instructors and students alike,” said Gina Maranto, Director of English Composition at the University of Miami. “Using a Flowgram, I was able to pull a variety of examples from the web and package them into an easy-to-follow presentation on how to use technology to help teach writing.” View Gina’s Flowgram: http://www.flowgram.com/p/xdu2grcf5ccuyc.
- Go Virtual. Up until recently, virtual world platforms have been thought of as a niche phenomenon, but they actually have enormous potential for teaching and presenting. Try hosting a special event in Second life or enlist your students in building a virtual environment or display on a topic of choice.
- Use social networks to your advantage. Most of your students use one or more online social networking websites on a daily basis. Research conducted by Grunwald Associates found that 71% of youth between the ages of 9 and 17 visit social networking sites weekly and 96% of those online have participated in some form of social networking. Most social networks allow their members to create groups, providing a convenient and interactive way to communicate and share information outside of the classroom. Some are actually tailored specifically toward education in certain subjects. For example, Livemocha (www.livemocha.com) is a free language learning community that provides instructional content, as well as an opportunity to practice with a global community of over 1 million native speakers through IM and chat functions. This is a great way to supplement foreign language classes.
- Create a blog. Blogs are easy to create and update, and can be used to create an ongoing dialogue between students, staff, and the larger community of people who are interested in your topic. Post curricula, links to relevant articles and news, updates on course schedules and additional resources. There are many tools out there that allow you to easily add news and images to your blog. Daylife (www.daylife.com) provides widgets and API that can help you in adding content to your site.