Using Technology in Teaching: Student Perspectives

Phil Gay


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Interview Participants
So one of my child development professors actually used Facebook in one of my classes and what he did was he had sort of an informal Facebook group where students could look at articles and have discussions that were outside of class and it wasn’t graded or anything, it was just a way to engage us that was not formal and it was outside of the classroom.
In my media literacy class my professor required the whole class to each have their own blog and the purpose of it was for us to apply what we had been learning in lecture to current events, to the world around us, so I created a blog that focused specifically on gender in the media and just issues of media literacy in popular films or movies
and other people posted links about parodies, like news parodies, and things like that. Everyone got really involved in it and it was kind of cool because it got me thinking about what I learned from lecture, like, all the time.
I took Peter Winn’s Americas course and it’s a broad scoped class about all the Americas—
Latin America, Central America, the Caribbean, South America—so there’s a lot of culture that he needs to describe, right. And the format of the class is a three hour lecture, but he only spent half of the time lecturing and for the second half he would play some sort of movie, either a Latin American movie or like BBC or PBS broadcast and that gave us such…
he could talk, he’s a great storyteller, he knows so much, but, like, watching a movie from that culture really helped. And our TA for that class when we had little break out sessions, recitations, he would always bring his iPod and he had these speakers and we’d always listen to a song that kind of exemplified what we were learning that week.
And it just really helped, you know, kind of bring in the world, that we were learning about through these technological devices. It really deepened my understanding of what we were reading in a textbook.
We updated blogs throughout the semester. It was kind of whatever we wanted to blog about. It just helped us get used to writing out in an informal way about topics we were talking about in class or just anything else we found interesting.
Do you like when teachers use technology in the classroom?
I do because I feel like it can be more efficient, and better especially for group projects.
Yeah I think it really allows me to really think critically all the time about issues that are important in the class, issues that are important to society and that, I don’t know, it definitely kept me thinking, having a blog. So I’d definitely be a fan of using a blog in a different class as well.
I know that now a days it’s really important to have the skills to be able to blog and use different media tools online, so it was good. I use Twitter on my own and I really like that better because I’m more of a 140 characters-or-less kind of person, but I thought that blogging was great too because it forced me to kind of flush out my ideas.
It’s good to remember that learning isn’t just textbooks and it’s not just lecture. It’s being engaged in what you’re learning and people can connect to what they’re learning in different ways and by involving technology it’s this really expedient way to get me, a student, involved in what I’m learning.
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