It seems that lately, I'm reading more and more blog entries, articles, posts, tweets, etc., about how online learning can be either the greatest thing to happen to education, or the worst. It seems that one of the biggest issues facing those who teach online is how to keep students engaged and learning, especially when students can be spread across states, time zones, or continents. This brief article, entitled "Incorporating Active Learning Into the Online Classroom," outlines five main activities to incorporate into online learning:
collaborative group work
writing to learn
The instruction that we do as part of our face to face WRA courses do many of these already, so incorporating them into online courses can be done with a little tweaking-how can we make discussion happen online? Many LMS's have discussion or forums available for integration into the course site, so those can be used effectively to create discussion among students, especially while students are learning online. There are chat features we can use, so students can question not only the material they're working with, but also pose questions for instructors. Group work can be tricky online, but content management systems, and things like Google Drive can be effectively employed to encourage collaboration-with Google Drive, instructors can have students collaborate on a document, presentation, project, and have students submit or share. In this manner, instructors are able to observe the group work happening without having to physically be in a class or walking around a classroom.
What about you? What active learning techniques that you use in your IL classes would be easily transferable to an online setting?
There are several ways to glean new information about what technologies are available for use in the classroom and how best to use them, but some of the best resources I have found are lists. Technology tools lists, article lists, app lists, and even book lists. The blog Instructional Tech Talk recently released their list of the bestselling educational technology books from 2014. They cover a range of topics, from general educational technology to blended and flipped learning to digital leadership. Some of the books are geared towards elementary and high school teachers, but with a lot of librarians wondering how they can better flip their courses to reach students both in their one shots and outside of that hour and a half, there are lots of resources. One of the best resources is Flipping 2.0: Practical Strategies for Flipping Your Class. And one of my favorite books about education made the list-Salman Khan’s (from Khan Academy!) The One World Schoolhouse: Education Reimagined. Even though the book was published several years ago, the premise still rings true today-how do we bring education to more people across the globe? There are many books, articles, and resources out there to help you bring technology into the classroom-if you have questions how you can do it, let us know!
Have you read anything this year that you'd add to this list? Let us know in the comments.
As you are deciding how to incorporate SearchPlus into your teaching this fall, here are four best practices from two recent articles for your consideration:
Buck, Stefanie, and Christina Steffy. "Promising Practices in Instruction of Discovery Tools." Communications in Information Literacy 7.1 (2013): 66-80. Web.
Fawley, Nancy and Nikki Krysak. and "Information Literacy Opportunities within the Discovery Tool Environment." College and Undergraduate Libraries 19.2-4 (2012): 207-14. Web.
More Here:Part 1: Describing SearchPlus
The following article came up in my Facebook feed recently (you’ll see why that’s ironic if you read the article): “Why I Just Asked My Students to Put Their Laptops Away” by Clay Shirky. Shirky draws on research to justify his recent decision to ask students to be device-free (including laptops) during class, unless explicitly asked. I was especially intrigued by the idea that distracting technology use during class affects not only the retention of the student using the technology, but those around him or her as well. This “second-hand smoke” effect was a large part of the reason Shirky finally decided to ban technology all together. Not that he blames students for being distracted; he asserts that social media is designed precisely to attract our attention on an almost biological level.
However, I wonder about this policy’s applicability to the kind of instruction we do in the library. Unlike Shirky, who has the luxury of building relationships with his students over the course of the semester, we often have less than two hours to develop rapport with students and hopefully make a good enough impression that they will be willing to return to the library on their own. Would the goodwill lost enforcing a technology ban outweigh the potential benefits of increased focus from students? Shirky’s piece will no doubt spark strong feelings from people on both sides of the issue.
Apple revealed its much anticipated wearable technology yesterday, called, simply, the "Apple Watch." As many scholars, technology experts, and the general public poked fun at the device across the nation (one comedian on Twitter mused "for centuries, we've checked the time by looking at our phones. Having it on your wrist? Genius."), others looked to its implications in teaching, learning, and research. As librarians and technologists, it will be interesting to see how students adapt and adopt the Apple Watch-or if they do at all. We still aren't seeing students use the iPad or another tablet exclusively, as many students still rely on laptops and desktops to do a majority of their work.
The Chronicle has an article out today that examines some initial reactions to the Apple Watch. Teresa Fishman, director of the International Institute for Academic Integrity at Clemson University suggests that wearable technology -such as the Apple Watch, the Samsung Gear, and others-could "prompt universities to encourage innovative teaching that reflects modern realities." Others argue that it will be easier than ever for students to discreetly consult (read: cheat) their watches for answers-from friends, sites, ebooks, and other resources more available than ever.
And yet still others argue that the Apple Watch will be an distraction-not only in a classroom, but for students critical thinking. What do you think? Is the Apple Watch the next "big thing" in education, or is it only another "distraction" in the classroom?
Koenig, Rebecca. "Apple Watch: Coming to a Classroom Near You?" Chronicle of Higher Education. Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 Sept. 2014. Web. 10 Sept. 2014.
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