Reflections on Digital Pedagogy and Digital Spaces

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Disclaimer: I am not sure if these examples count as digital projects, but they are what first led me to include more technology in my classes.

When I taught high school, I used to have my students make videos to engage with the material that they were learning, and practice their oral proficiency in the target language. The students always enjoyed doing them and I enjoyed seeing how creative they were. One year, I had a group of talented students that were also fairly tech savvy and had access to video editing tools. After finishing their video project, this particular group decided to market their video around the school, invite other students to the “premiere” (which took place in my classroom), and then uploaded their production to YouTube so that it could be widely shared and watched by as many people as they could get it out to. They were a hit. Their Spanish video was the talk of the school for a couple of weeks. So, I guess that one could say that my first brush with digital spaces and course content was completely accidental. I was led there by a group of forward-thinking and extremely creative students, who introduced me to its potential.

Later, I would use this experience to develop a final project in a Humanities course at the university level in which students created videos similar to those on the History Channel to analyze Hispanic myths and legends. Students uploaded their videos to YouTube at the end of the semester and commented on each other’s work. However, in this class there were several students that were uncomfortable with sharing their work publicly and they were concerned about what would come up online when someone searched their name. We worked out a compromise involving screen names and a limited time frame, after which they were free to remove the videos.

In my time at St. Norbert College, I have done online discussion boards in one of my larger classes. On these boards, I post 3 or 4 reflection questions regarding the assignment. Students record a video response to these questions, which is then uploaded to the website that allows them to watch and comment on the videos of others. I then reference these video responses in class to further our discussions.

These past couple of weeks have opened my eyes to the many tools that are out there for digital learning. I feel like I have barely dipped my toes in the water, but I am looking forward to trying some of the new things that I have learned in DigPINS. I am already thinking of ways that I could incorporate Hypothes.is in my advanced courses and I plan on looking into the resources that Dr. Mia Zamora mentioned in the video call today. I’m excited to see what other new ideas and tools are out there!

(4) Comments

  1. Reid

    Was your discovery “accidental”? That is not the term I would use. You created a context that was so engaged the students took the learning beyond your expectations.. That is simply good teaching. Project-based learning gives students ownership of their learning and the opportunity to be creative. It requies students to use their critical thinking skills to organize and synthesize information. The technology is simply a mechanism that allows them to express their learning effectively.

    1. Katie G

      Thank you, Reid. I could not agree more with your comments about giving students opportunities to take ownership of their learning and be creative. I think it is important to give students the space to explore and take risks, so that they can apply what they have learned and then take that information to the next level.

  2. Cristina Ortiz

    These are such interesting activities! I’m definitely interested in replicating one of these.

    1. Katie G

      Thank you, Cristina! Let me know if you want more information.

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