Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ed Tech Info Project

I consider myself to be technologically savvy! When I arrived at Tennessee Tech last July, I thought all my students would be as technologically savvy as I am. I thought the faculty in my college would be as well. We know what assuming does, right?

When I noticed students struggling with the various ways technology was used in my classes, I first became frustrated. I thought if they would just put forth a little effort, they would master it (as an educator, I know this was a terrible approach to the situation). I mean, these students never had to tell their siblings to get off the phone so they could browse the internet, right? They have always been connected to technology in some way, right? I don't know the answer to those questions, but I assumed they had to be on the same page with me (I know, another educator no no).

I then learned how little technology is integrated across other courses in the college. Again, I became frustrated. Why weren't other instructors using technology in their courses? Do they not understand how technology can help streamline processes (e.g., grading or providing immediate feedback), or how it can help engage students? At a faculty meeting to kick off the new semester, we worked through an activity that allowed me to understand why technology wasn't being used in other courses (I am speaking in generalities here. The majority of faculty openly admitted to not using educational technology in their courses-aside from the overhead projector and discipline specific technologies).

The lack of technology integration, I learned, was due to limited exposure. They didn't know that technology could make grading easier or help engage students in the learning process. As I often recommend to my preservice teachers, I reflected on this topic for some time. I then asked myself, "Instead of being frustrated, how can I help?" A brainstorming session with one of my students led to a novel idea (in my opinion). We worked on a solution that could prove to be truly symbiotic for the faculty and my students. The Ed Tech Info project was born.

This project will allow faculty members in the college to request information on educational technology via a Google Form. My students and I will then explore the tech, and develop a one-page brief on the technology. While I know we could point them to a number of outlets that explain these tools, allowing the students to explore and test the tech provides a much deeper understanding of the technology. We have a list of Ed Tech tools we are currently exploring, and plan to roll one out per week, at a minimum, via our TTU Teach Ag social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). Below is the first one we released earlier this week.

In an effort to expand the possibilities, we have decided to allow YOU to also request information on specific educational technologies you want to explore, but don't have time for. The link to the form is below. We will email the one-pager to you once completed, roll it out on our social media platforms, and eventually house them on our webpage (currently under construction).

Ed Tech Info Request Form:

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