by Megan Mallicoat
Ph.D. student, University of Florida
There is a compelling reason to embrace technology as you teach: technology has already captured the minds and hearts of our students. As the world becomes increasingly technology-driven, students must understand how to learn technology and how to use technology to learn. This understanding enables them to become lifelong learners.
As teachers, even though we may not be as naturally immersed in technology as are our students, technology also provides new ways to connect with students. Here are three practical suggestions to incorporate technology into your lesson plans:
1. Communicate important information with Twitter. Remind students of upcoming deadlines and important events. Post links to interesting websites. Supplement class discussions with follow-up references. Be ready for them to want to use Twitter for topics best discussed in person during office hours, though. Remind them some things require more than 140 characters.
2. Encourage creativity with social media tools like Instagram, Vine and Storify. These Web 2.0 tools are probably already loaded onto your students’ smartphones. Take advantage of your students’ love for 24/7 social connection, and translate it into class-related creativity.
3. Ask them to organize group projects with Web 2.0 project management tools. Once released into the real world, many fresh graduates will need to know how to use project management tools. Why not start now? Tools such as Wikispaces, Google Groups, and Facebook Groups make it easy to collaborate. In some cases, these tools can also help you track how much effort each group member is contributing to the project — which comes in handy when it’s time to grade.
Megan Mallicoat is a student in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).