“There’s an App for that,” Apple’s 2009 trademark slogan, was once a shining promise for the many digital resources at our fingertips. Now, the phrase sends a chill down the spine of many faculty; yes, there is a digital resource for that. In fact, there are many resources for that, on top of the apps and websites for that other thing you were interested in, and don’t forget about those digital resources that those amazing professors are having incredible success with. Unlimited options can mean unlimited complications and questions for faculty as they seek to incorporate more technology into their classrooms’ daily use.
Educational technologists feel the pressure of not only using digital resources but sharing them successfully with faculty. We strive to stay current, focus on best practices, and find the best resources that enhance teaching and student learning. Those tasks can become daunting as we explore how to best deliver that information to faculty. How can we share and explore best practices in educational technology to the people who need it most, but whose time is already so tasked?
I recently had the privilege of attending Lewis and Clark’s Faculty Technology Institute and was inspired by how Lewis & Clark’s Educational Technologists reached and supported faculty through a week-long training event. The conference offered varied trainings at a variety of skill levels, and focused both on the theories of using technology in education as well as what actually using it looks like. It was a wonderful blend of best practice theory, exploring, and learning and gave their faculty a sense of commonality in the issues and successes that can be had when using educational technology. The following is a list of my favorite resources shared, all of which would provide faculty with tremendous opportunities to engage students using technology in a way that fits their teaching practice, not vice versa:
- Nearpod: create interactive lessons where your content is displayed on students’ screens.
- Zaption: add questions and short answers to fair use videos for students to interact with
- Tellagami: students create animated presentations to share their voice in a unique way.
- Lynda.com Basic in Data Visualization: Technology Services is pleased to offer two kiosks dedicated to Lynda.com online training access. Our kiosks are setup with our subscriptions to give you full access to their videos and training materials on a variety of technology, creative, and business skills. These kiosks are located in the Tech Center in Collins Memorial Library.”
- Peardeck: Create interactive presentations using Google slides.
- Quizlet: Make studying simple by requiring students to create varied quizzes for others to study from (recommended for language courses).
The following is a great example of an institution who has used technology to connect globally and place students at the center of learning.
- University of Southern California iPodia: Creating a “global classroom” through the use of technology.
Educational technology conferences take the fear and uncertainty out of using digital tools and resources and add excitement to our teaching practice. Inspired by their institute and the requests for professional development at University of Puget Sound, we are currently working on our own faculty technology institute that would offer faculty an opportunity to explore using technology in their teaching practice. Our goal is not to create a syllabus drenched with digital tools, but to seriously look out ways technology can enhance student learning in ways that fit with teaching style and goal outcomes. What opportunities lie in our syllabi for a digital resource to enhance a project or clarify student understanding? How can we better organize our content, say on Moodle, to create a clear and concise digital learning environment? What struggles and successes are other faculty having?
I am so excited about offering our own training and are guiding our plans based on faculty feedback and researched best practices. Please look out for news regarding quarterly trainings and our first faculty training institute in 2017!