4 questions to ask yourself to determine which technology to use in your teaching

By Aqsa Bashir
Ph.D student, University of Florida

Aqsa Bashir

Aqsa Bashir

Technology can both be a virtue and a curse in the classroom depending on how an instructor choses to use it.

Technology can aid and distract at the same time if not managed well by the instructor.

Instructors can utilize a number of technology tools to aid the course and student experience —  Learning Management Systems (such as Canvas or Blackbroad), e-mail/listservs, blogs, social media, videos, PowerPoint presentations, Google Docs, and Skype.

Now imagine cramming all these into one 50-minute lecture. That would be a technology overload.

Hence, choosing the right tool for your class is as important as the class content itself.

Here are four questions to ask yourself as you determine your tech tools for class:

  1. What tools are approved by and available at your institution?

Before you begin choosing which tech tools you are going to use to aid your teaching, make sure you double check with your academic institution which tech tools and apps are approved and available to the students.

2. Begin with the end in mind, what are you trying to accomplish?

Typically, ‘the end’ are your course outcomes and class objectives. You can draw from the Bloom’s Taxonomy to help you determine what you want your students to accomplish. Then that can help you determine how to select and incorporate technology. And those objectives can vary from class to class or even within one class period. Is the student’s objective to create, to analyze, to evaluate or to demonstrate understanding?

3. Do the technology tools match your instructional needs?

Once you have established your objectives, select the tools based on your needs. Is your need to establish a student-teacher interaction? Or do you want to administer a test? There are different tools associated with a particular need. To develop student-teacher interaction outside of class, you can use Canvas inbox, email or even social media. You can use Canvas for administrating a quiz and providing feedback to the students.

4. What tools are available to your students and do they know how to use those tools?

Once you have established your objective, identified your need and selected your tech tool, make sure your students have access to the technology and are comfortable using the technology you plan on using. There is no point sending out important class updates through social media if your students are not on that particular network. For example, in distance learning courses, having a course group page on Facebook would not help students in the course who are in China where Facebook is banned. Hence pick a tool that all the students use and have access to.

Aqsa Bashir is a doctoral student in the College of Journalism and Communications. This blog post is based on a teaching presentation she made in Mass Communication Teaching (MMC 6930).


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