Teaching with Tech

In my very first semester of teaching, I utilized a wiki for course management and lesson planning. When I saw how much my students appreciated the way we used it for collaboration in the classroom (and how much it benefited them when accessing materials outside of class), I knew I wanted to do more with technology in the classroom.  Since then, each subsequent course I’ve taught in the past 5 years involved (at minimum) an online space (other than Blackboard) for students to collaborate inside and outside of the classroom. In addition to the use of alternative course management tools, I’ve used social networking like Twitter (for in-class writing exercises) and sites like Pinterest for other writing activities (and presented about the experience)!

Recently, I’ve been using Instagram in several low-stakes activities in the class which ask students to use their IG accounts to share memes, selfie study pics, and other images with the hashtag #WSUENG1010 and #ENGIMD to signify the theme of our basic writing course: Inspiration, Motivation, Drive. It’s my hope that engaging students on their most active and favored social media will help them to see that the writing classroom is a place for multiple discourses – and that we (the writing classroom) can be part of every conversation. It is my personal and pedagogical belief that harnessing students’ use of social media and personal technologies can only enhance their experience in the writing classroom which will lead to a disposition geared toward learning and holding on to that knowledge.

Going beyond  my use of technology in the classroom, I have been an advocate for the use of technology in classrooms other than my own. In the Spring of 2013, I lead an effort to propose and secure the scheduling of ENG 1010 courses in a newly-renovated and refashioned space on campus for Wayne State’s APEX summer bridge students. This new space included Smartboard technology, multiple large screen television monitors, and furniture designed specifically for collaborative work. Instructors in my Summer 2013 cohort taught in these classrooms and used them for many student-centered activities including the display of student work via document cameras for collaborative peer review sessions and live-editing.