Welcome to Geeking Out at Fisher. Modeled after the Profhacker blog published by the Chronicle of Higher Education, this marks the beginning of a project to increase conversation not only about educational technology, but also pedagogical philosophies emerging from the influences of digital media in education. The title comes from the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out by Mimi Ito, et al., which explores (from an anthropological and educational perspective) how teenagers behave, experiment, and create with technological tools.
This project began after Dr. Todd Sodano, Dr. Rik Hunter, and I received a Learning Circle grant this past summer to attend the New Media Consortium Conference at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This yearly international conference focuses on pedagogy and technology, primarily aimed at a higher education audience. Rather than simply presenting, as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences remarked, “what you did this summer” at a single PETAL session, he suggested we come up with something more ambitious.
So, here it is: the start of a ongoing blog that will be updated bi-weekly and permit and encourage faculty participation in the discussion section below each post. We’ll send out a brief reminder with each posting (at least at the start of this endeavor), and perhaps make a Facebook or Twitter account to offer another means of notification. And we’re ambitious—the conversation can and should go beyond the campus community at Fisher, so let your friends know about the blog.
Our educational technologist Katie McDonald has agreed to join our group of writers. Unfortunately, Rik Hunter has left the college for a position in British Columbia, and so the three of us would like to invite another colleague who might like to contribute on a regular basis to come aboard. Furthermore, if anyone would like a “guest slot,” just contact Todd or myself.
Here are just some of the upcoming topics to look forward to:
1) Challenge-based learning and how student-directed projects focused on big themes and problems can create a cohesive unit (or semester).
2) The pros and cons of peer-review software.
3) Using Facebook and Twitter for information flow in the classroom.
4) How Dropbox and an e-reader can make your life easier (and it doesn’t just include reading books).
5) Learning analytics and assessment.
Finally, consider this: everything is ‘technology’: a pen or pencil, the classroom computer, Powerpoint. There’s no escaping it. Collaboration and discussion can only make it work better for each of us. Geeking out is merely being willing to have fun and experiment with technology for the betterment of the classroom experience.
We hope this will provide a valuable service to the college and lead to meaningful discussion.