For my courses in coming year, I gained two outstanding benefits from this class. First, I had a chance to understand the general technology of teaching landscape more fully. So, for example, I will be implementing Zotero in my discussions of citations in HIST 3020, Historical Thinking and Writing. It is embarrassing to admit that, last time I taught citations in this course, I did not include some discussion of this useful tool for making more professional citations. It will not only help the students with these elements of writing a more professional research paper, but it will also increase my efficiency in communicating with the library the books that I would like to put on reserve. However, the main point here is that the class has expanded my general familiarity with the technological landscape. It has given me a toolbox to address a wide variety of issues related both to student learning and teaching efficiency. I am certain that I will add bits and pieces of various technologies, such as Zotero and screen capture, incrementally over the coming semesters.
More specifically, I see great potential in using Diigo and Google docs for students to critique and collaborate not only on improving existing webpages but also on each other’s work. I will start by using Diigo to have students comment on weaknesses with existing information posted in a Wikipedia entry related to our joint research projects. Once they have used this tool to identify weaknesses with the existing entry, I will load the Wikipedia entry into Google docs, where the students can collectively enhance and improve the selected Wikipedia entry. This approach will improve collaboration outside of the classroom. This technology will be especially useful to keep learning alive when the class only meets once or twice a week. By allowing students to edit the same Wikipedia entry over the web, they can take responsibility for discrete portions of the article and they can also understand how meeting their own deadline will affect the work of others related to the project. We will use this same technology, Google docs, when they provide each other with feedback on rough drafts and outlines of their own papers for the course. My goal here is for them to witness how the expansion and improvement of knowledge involves collaborative efforts. In addition, Google docs offers a variety of ways for students to identify common writing problems with each other’s work so that they learn from each other outside of the class. This type of work can help them understand their collective responsibilities when working with a team and when meeting deadlines that involve several people.