After nearly a year’s absence, I am again starting to blog on teaching history. The past year has been devoted to teaching blogging and many other media to my students. Now, I want to return to talk to other professionals about teaching methods.
I know that many of us are in a quandary when it comes to combining teaching and technology. Years ago I gave presentations on how to use PowerPoint in the classroom. How quaint that sounds now. Presentation programs like PowerPoint and Prezi are now ubiquitous in classrooms. Most professors don’t think twice about using presentations to accompany their lectures and discussions. Like many readers of this blog, however, the integration of technology into the classroom learning experience poses different problems. Most problematic: how to balance coverage of content (always a problem for historians) while at the same time teaching students skills that they will need after they leave college. Historians have long been comfortable teaching students to write papers as a means of assessment. Then we began to focus more carefully on writing pedagogy in our classrooms. This takes more time away from the “stuff” we want students to learn, but teaching good writing is a skill that all students need to learn. The newest conundrum is teaching students how to use technology. Just as writing is a process of thinking, so too can technology aid the learning process.
Over the course of this semester I will be providing my thoughts on teaching with technology both to develop skills, but also to reinforce learning of content in the courses.
In the coming days Gleb Tsipursky will join the blog to discuss his “class-sourcing” projects. I have adapted Gleb’s model for a Russian history course I am teaching this semester. I will be updating this blog on my course’s progress, and hopefully some of my students will contribute their thoughts.
Please join in the conversation.