About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Teaching with technology in a non-tech room: solutions

As I mentioned previously, I am teaching two sections of the same class, one in a tech room, the other in a non-tech room. Well, come to find out the second section is only in a semi-tech room as I don't have a computer monitor, although I have access to the internet through a lcd projector.

I do have a video and DVD monitor, and have received some information from other blogs that have given me some ideas as to how I might use technology. All of my students have access to e-mail, the internet (at least through the school library), and a computer. However, one consideration has to do with the school filters to certain sites. So working through the library, at home, and my school office, I tested different sites and have decided on a few. In additions to the constraints listed above, I also have be considerate of the FERPA laws, that insure privacy for students over the age of 18. Our school interprets this as students are only required to use the technology that has officially been recognized through the university, requiring password protection. As a result, any outside technology I use must be optional, with the possible use of aliases.

I have decided to use a Ning, in which I post links, resources (I am not using a text this semester), discussion forums for student questions with the option of online class discussions when the weather requires the cancellation of class (such as tomorrow when 12 inches of snow is expected). The ning also allows for videos to be posted (for those that have the technology), groups to be created, and a chat function. Since I have two sections for the same class, I have one site. Today I informed my students that some of the questions posed will be appropriate to both classes or one class or another. As a result, as I answer questions, I will need to identify whether the answer is true for both classes, or class 1 or class 2 only. I have also decided to create two groups within the Ning for online discussions, one for each class.

I have also decided to use delicious as another format for students to find links, especially for video clips I want them to watch. Most of the video clips will be through YouTube, which is one of the few programs not blocked (due to faculty request). Students will be able to submit assignments through e-mail. One quirk about our e-mail is that during the semester, e-mail may take up to 48 hours to post. However, e-mails are time dated at the moment it is posted. I have found e-mails posted 2 days earlier, despite the fact that I check the e-mails daily. I opted not to use the LMS for assignments because assignments that were posted (I had actually seen them) were disappearing after they were posted. As our ITS department were not able to identify what the problem was, I decided to use a more reliable technology (albeit, late in access, the posting date and time is accurate).

I am still trying to download clips and format them into a usable form for the DVD playable. I also need to look into hooking up the laptop to the TV or the LCD projector. However, I will need to determine if I can get internet access in the room as we are currently having our buildings converted for wireless access in all of the classes. This conversion will take place over the next 3 months on a rolling basis. If I have internet access, both my students and I will be able to access additional resources. I will place students into groups according to laptops so they can access and analyze video clips of speeches.

Hopefully, this will be helpful for those who have limited or no access to technology in the classroom. I am open to more ideas on how to integrate technology into a non-tech classroom!

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