unplugging cord

Use It but Don’t Depend on Technology to Teach

This article is not a Luddite’s rejection of digital technology. Even though I feel some intellectual kinship with Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau in regard to how some tools affect people constitutionally, I readily admit that digital technology has made my job as a teacher much easier in a number of ways. Courseware makes it possible for me to share handouts with students without having to make copies. I can post web links for easy in-class access. Using email, I can make important announcements when my students are not in class, and they can contact me with questions about their essays. After my students visit a local science museum, I can have them post their thoughts about the visit to a discussion board, responding both to me and to each other as they ruminate on connections between the museum displays and related content in the course text. In short, for teachers and students—including sometime skeptics like me—digital technology, despite occasional overuse, facilitates interpersonal communication and accessibility to information.

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Tweeting as an Alternative to Discussion Forums

There has recently been quite a bit of discussion on ways to use Twitter in education. But commentators have said little about whether Twitter offers advantages over traditional LMS discussion forums. Should the online instructor use Twitter instead of the tried and true LMS?

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Using VoiceThread to Support Close Reading from a Distance

Faculty know that the increased think-time provided by asynchronous online discussion allows for deeper and more active deliberation by students than is possible in face-to-face courses. But this advantage is often lost as online discussions revert to personal opinions and anecdotes. One method for keeping a discussion on track is to organize it around close reading and analysis of course texts.

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