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Better Student Access To Technology Means Better Student Writers

Why do you use technology in your classroom? To many instructors, it’s because of convenience. Technology allows instructors to go paperless, enhance a lecture with a video, create a blog to supplement the class, and countless other things. But can technology teach students as well? In the case of digital writing…absolutely! In an article published recently by Emerging EdTech, guest poster Neven Jurkovic discusses ways in which 1:1 technology can help students become better writers. The new medium of web-based writing has changed the way we write, view and interact with text. Here are some of the key points he discusses:

  • Writing in digital spaces” – Now that so much writing is done in digital spaces (blogs, web sites, social media), many of us don’t even think twice about how different it is from traditional paper-and-pen writing. As I write this blog post, I have many options for conveying my message to you: I can hyperlink words, embed multimedia, and easily format my text in different ways to add emphasis and voice. It’s very important to have skills in both traditional writing and digital writing, as they are two different formats. By providing students with easy access to technology, we are allowing them to build their digital writing skills. Skills that, for many generations, were not necessarily taught in K-12 education.
  • Writing for real audiences” – When students publish work on the Internet, they are immediately opening access to it that extends beyond the classroom or even an academic setting. This forces students to think critically about how they categorize, tag, and attract readers to read their full post. Academic writing generally doesn’t have to worry about these things, but now that writing on the Internet is usually accessible to anyone in the world, it’s something writers should be aware of.
  • Collaborative writing and peer editing” – Digitally, students can collaborate on papers and projects in ways that were not possible in the past. Google Docs is a prime example in this case, the popular application that allows multiple people to edit a paper online at once. Additionally, instructors can look back and see the paper from start to finish–what revisions were made, who worked on what, how students helped each other, etc. Using collaborative writing tools, Google Docs in particular, allows instructors to see not only the finished product, but the entire writing process.

At the end of the article, Jurkovic argues that digital writing is an essential skill to learn–it involves far more than writing the essay you would on paper. Students need to be taught to be good digital citizens, and can achieve this through learning proper digital writing skills and access to the technology that allows them to learn.

Tegrity User Conference Sessions Now Online

Last month, (4/18-20) the 6th annual Tegrity User Conference took place in Seattle, WA. UWB Learning Technologies’ own Andreas Brockhaus and Ian Porter were able to attend, along with many other administrators, IT specialists, faculty members and users of the lecture capture system.

But for those who weren’t able to make it, we’ve got good news: conference sessions are now available through the Tegrity website. Topics of interest include:

There are many more sessions to choose from, and they are all very interesting regardless of how experienced with Tegrity you are.

Please note that these sessions are actual Tegrity recordings and may require an additional plugin to play (although we’ve found that using Internet Explorer allows them to run without complications)

Click here for more information about Tegrity at UW Bothell.

And once more, the list of Tegrity sessions from the conference.

UWB LT Blog Included as a “Must-Read” by EdTech Magazine

We’re proud to report that this blog was included in The Dean’s List: 50 Must-Read Higher Education Technology Blogs, an article by EdTech Magazine highlighting 50 fantastic educational technology blogs. Learning Technologies is absolutely honored to be included among some incredible writers and institutions. We are also pleased to see that some of our favorite edtech blogs made the list, and are excited to explore and discover new ones!

We have a great team here at UWB Learning Technologies, and we couldn’t do it without one another! Thank you to all of our readers and Edtech Magazine for including us in this list. We’ll keep doing what we’re doing!

Stanford School of Engineering Opens Online Courses

The Stanford School of Engineering has begun to offer online classes free of charge to anyone around the world. The program is called Stanford Engineering Everywhere (SEE), and currently offers 13 different courses in the topics of computer science, artificial intelligence, linear systems and optimization, and miscellaneous engineering topics.

Students of SEE’s open courses have access to class lectures, syllabi, handouts, assignments, exams, and software. Additionally, SEE students can communicate with each other online, allowing collaboration for understanding.

It’s great to see Stanford contributing to the open course world. SEE is definitely something to keep an eye on.

Smartphones as Learning Tools

Last Spring, we posted an article about using cell phones in the classroom. Nearly every student, staff and faculty member has one, and in the past years there’s been a push to harness the technology for educational enhancement. But now an even more advanced mobile technology is becoming ubiquitous–smartphones. There are now 91.4 million smartphones in the United States, and many students are the proud owners of these devices. In addition to standard cell phone features of calling and texting, smartphones make it easy to browse the web, play games, check the news, study for a test, and much more all thanks to different applications that can be installed on the phone.

With technology constantly advancing, it may be only a matter of time until cell phones are replaced completely by smartphones. It’s no wonder, considering possession of a smartphone is having knowledge & resources at your fingertips (literally). This brings to mind the idea of smartphones in the classroom. Want to get the latest on a current event? Open a news app. Need to spell check something? Use the dictionary on your phone. Looking for background information on a topic? Open Wikipedia for a quick review.

But the dilemma with smartphones in the classroom is similar to laptops in the classroom. How do we use the technology without distracting students from the class work? In a Campus Technology article published recently, this question is tackled. The authors give several tips on best practices for smartphones in the class, which will be highlighted after the jump:

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