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Technology in Post-Secondary Education January 27, 2008

Posted by ashleyquark in Post-Secondary, Tech Tools.

Preparing pre-service teachers to be able to effectively use technology in the teaching and learning process is very important.  Information and communication technologies (ICTs)are becoming increasingly available in schools, but often teachers in schools are not aware of all the possibilities for how it can be used in their classrooms. Therefore, as a university instructor, I am working to incorporate these technologies into my classrooms to help familiarize students with Web 2.0 software that can be used to enhance the learning process.

This semester, I am teaching two undergraduate classes in the Faculty of Education and am trying to infuse technology into my classes.   One of the classes is a Writing Methodology class for English majors in the Secondary Education program.  We spent a significant amount of time discussing the idea of multiliteracies.  We discussed the various ways people may be literate (cultural literacy, functional literacy, technological literacy, critical literacy), who is privileged in the ways we teach in schools, and what implications this has for our professional practice.  In discussing multiliteracies, we also talked about the various ways people can represent their knowledge and how “new literacies” sparked by technology may impact our classrooms.  My students seemed to enthusiastically embrace these ideas, but were apprehensive about the technological skill base they will need to incorporate technologies into their classrooms.  To help my students become more comfortable with ICTs, I have developed a social network through Ning where we discuss the readings and extend our class discussion.  I chose Ning because I believe it is important to model the use of technologies that students could actually use in their classrooms.  Ning offers a free ad-free social network for the use in Grades 7-12 classrooms.  As well, my class is sharing their writing and lesson plans on a wiki through wikispaces, another Web 2.0 that offers free wikis for use in K-12 education.

In the other class I am teaching, I am using technology in a very basic way–to post homework and class announcements.  However, as a firm believer in the use of multiliteracies in the classroom, I am trying to provide homework assignments that allow students to do things beyond reading journal articles and chapters from books.  With the website, I have been able to link podcasts and videos to our site and have students “read” these forms of media for homework as well.  While a class website is nothing complex, having a place to link these forms of media makes it easy to give such assignments. If I were to teach this class again, I would likely try to design the course so students are not simply consumers of media, but also producers of media, using various applications available through Web 2.0. 

I hope that with the use of ICTs modelled in their univeristy classes, my students will have some ideas of how they might use such technologies in their classrooms once they start teaching.