On Wednesday, December 16th, 2015 about 30 people gathered in Stokes 102 for the Fall 2015 Teaching with Technology Forum. Eight faculty members shared their approaches and experiments using digital teaching and learning tools.
Hiroyo Saito (Director of ITS) organized the Forum. Hiroyo introduced our speakers and their various learning tools. First up … Elizabeth (Liz) Evans, our locally based Director of the Liberal Arts Consortium for Online Learning (LACOL).
LACOL is a partnership between Amherst, Carleton, Claremont McKenna, Haverford, Pomona, Swarthmore, Vassar, and Williams Colleges to explore and collaborate around effective instruction and use of technology. Liz is organizing many exciting working groups that look at different aspects of these goals. If you have not done so yet, stop by her office in the garden level of Founders and introduce yourself.
Just what activities and tools did faculty showcase this year?
Use demonstrated: Understanding foreign language videos and vocabulary
Zaption is a web-based tool that very quickly and easily lets you combine a video segment, text, and images–and then sequence those resources into what the program calls a learning tour. At any point during the tour, you can insert questions. The Zaption web site has more information and some examples. In most cases, Zaption is free to use.
Monique Laird (Visiting Lecturer of French) created a Zaption learning tour to help her Intermediate French course. Monique had students read a novel and then watch a video based upon that novel. While watching the video tour, students paused periodically to answer questions relating to particular scenes. Zaption then recorded how students responded and Monique could easily see where students needed extra instruction. Every student in Monique’s class felt that this exercise helped them to understand the materials better.
Ariana Huberman (Visiting Associate Professor of Spanish) also used Zaption. In her introductory Spanish course, Ariana suggested that students create their own learning tours to review course materials using Zaption or Voicethread. One student used Zaption and created a tour of a Spanish language cooking video and sprinkled the tour with questions about the vocabulary throughout the video. The rest of the class took the tour. The result … everyone learned the material a bit better.
Uses demonstrated: Understanding and speaking foreign languages; Presenting Computer Programming Code and Outcomes
VoiceThread is a versatile tool that Haverford faculty have been using in their teaching practice for several years. Voicethread ties into Moodle and provides an easy way for people to share and comment upon texts and images. You can see one use in the T.I.P. video featuring Lindsey Reckson. At the Fall Technology forum, we saw a number of additional uses.
VoiceThread is popular within our language departments and a few foreign language teachers showcased it at the forum. As mentioned above, some of Ariana’s students used VoiceThread instead of Zaption for their test review assignment. These students found images related to Spanish vocabulary and narrated a story around those images and vocabulary.
Manar Darwish (Instructor of Arabic and Coordinator of Bi-Co Arabic Program) had her introductory Arabic students give an illustrated on-line presentation about their families, and then create a group skit showcasing the Arab language skills they gained over the semester.
Kathryne Corbin (Lecturer of French) had each of her upper level French students read a portrait published in the French newsletter, Liberation. Then she asked students to use VoiceThread to discuss and analyze the portrait. Through VoiceThread, students could share images of the person in the portrait, and also mark up an image of the article text while discussing text passages.
Tetsuya Sato (Senior Lecturer and Director of the Japanese Language Program) used VoiceThread in a few different courses. In his introductory Japanese course, students read a script and Tetsuya listened for proper pronunciation. Third year Japanese students researched an aspect of Japan or Japanese culture and created a narrated slide show to share that research with classmates.
John (J.D.) Dougherty (Associate Professor of Computer Science) showed us a new and creative use for VoiceThread. In the past J.D. had asked students to write a computer program as their final project, submit that code, and then meet with him one-on-one to demonstrate and discuss the project. However, in recent years his classes have grown in size to the point that he no longer has time to meet with each student individually. Instead, he asked students to use VoiceThread to show him the code they wrote, discuss why they wrote the code as they did, and share their results when running the code.
Ideas for using VoiceThread effectively
All of the Forum presenters found VoiceThread useful, but some commented that students had not used the tool as effectively or creatively as they had wished. The audience shared a few ideas for using VoiceThread more effectively. These included:
- Asking IITS to give a short, in class demonstration on using VoiceThread.
- Sharing a sample VoiceThread that shows students what you are looking for in the project.
- Give students a rubric that includes desired items to include. This can include specific items such as using images from three different references, pointing to particular items that you are discussing, and commenting on at least two other projects from classmates.
Tool #3–GOOGLE SITES
Use demonstrated: Public research project
Google Sites is part of our Google Apps for Education suite. It provides a relatively quick, easy, and flexible way for people to work together on a web site. As with Google Docs, you can set the sharing and editing privileges as desired–private, open to a small group, open to the world, etc.
Jake Kurczek (Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology) wanted his students to create a web site that presents psychology research in an approachable way. Each student created a web page for their final research project. Jake hoped that having students share their work publicly would give them an incentive to go a bit beyond what they may do when writing a paper that only their professor sees. Additionally, he wanted to give all his students some exposure to creating a web site and help them begin to build a portfolio that they could share with potential colleagues, graduate schools, or employers.
If you visit the site, the Psychology of…, you can see his students extensive research and creative presentations on a wide variety of topics.
Tool #4–MOODLE GLOSSARY
Use demonstrated: Semantic maps
The Moodle Glossary is an activity in Moodle that lets students work together to create one or more glossaries specific to that course, or topics within that course. By default, words are sorted alphabetically. If you wish, you can auto-link text in your course page to entries in the glossary.
Ana Lopez-Sanchez (Assistant Professor of Spanish) gave our final presentation. Ana co-edited the recently published book, Multiliteracies in World Language Education. At the Forum, she shared how she uses semantic maps to help her students learn vocabulary.
Ana asked her intermediate Spanish students to work in groups as they read course texts. Each group then created a set number of Moodle Glossary entries for words that they did not understand in that text. The entries included an image describing the meaning, related words, and a couple of examples of how the word is used in the text and in other ways. Each group needed to come up with their own distinct lists. Through this process, the class was able to learn those words and concepts that they did not yet know.
While Ana found the Moodle Glossary helpful, she is looking for a more flexible tool that will make it easier to visually link like words and concepts together. In the future, she plans to use Popplet, or a similar mapping tool.