Sunday, 21 July 2013

Quick Hits for Teaching with Technology

Robin K. Morgan and Kimberley T. Olivares (Eds.)
Quick Hits for Teaching with Technology: 
Successful Strategies by Award-Winning Teachers 
(Indiana University Press, 2012)

For the 'digital immigrants' who are teaching in today's further and higher educational establishments technology has become an indispensable tool in delivering their courses. Understanding how to use new technologies has become much easier even as the choices of technologies have mushroomed. What is more difficult is how to use this new technology in a way that captures the interest and imaginations of students (both on campus and online); helps them learn better and at the same time allows tutors to develop the quality and effectiveness of their teaching.

This is where this book can prove useful for anybody involved in open and online teaching and is looking for creative and interesting ideas on how to engage with their students. The contributors are mainly Indiana University staff and they cut across different disciplines and departments, including maths, geography and medicine. Lots of the suggestions in the book are discipline-specific but most are not and even the ones that are can still be remodelled to fit in with a different subject.

The book is divided into four sections each of which deal with different ways in which new technologies can be best used in teaching. The first chapter has suggestions on how technology can assist in promoting student engagement. The second part explores how technology can be used to improve access to learning for those who may find the traditional college setting less feasible. Chapter three looks at imaginative ways for using technology in the evaluation of both learning and teaching. The last chapter helps with the problem that all of us are facing today, namely how to do more with less. The contributions to this chapter give examples of how technology can make teaching more efficient.

There are far too many (just under one hundred at a rough count) contributions for any examples to be detailed in this review. However, the use (in both consuming and producing terms) of blogs, wikis, clicker, podcasts as well as using websites such as YouTube and Prezi appears several times throughout the book. There are suggestions in the book that surprised me and surprised me in a good way and it will certainly influence my future practice. I can see tutors in open and online learning reaching for this book for inspiration again and again.

For readers of this review outside of North America, the distributors of this book have offered a very generous 20% discount off the price of the book if it is bought through their website. You can find details here and the discount code to use is CS0613QHTT.

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