One of the reasons I have a website is because of my commitment to using technology in ways that are pedagogically useful. In my classes, we blog and tweet to keep the conversation going outside of classroom hours. We also create interactive books and visual narratives to help us think about different ways of presenting and sharing knowledge in the 21st century.
blogs and twitter
I have long been a fan of blogs as a platform for informal writing in my classes. In the past, I kept our class blogs private, with access limited to students in the class. For the past few years, however, I’ve asked my students to take their blogs public in order to give them some real-world writing experience before they graduate. Check out what they have to say:
I also encourage my students to cultivate an active and professional Twitter presence. Tweets are a great place to practice concise, persuasive writing, and more and more employers expect college graduates to know how to use social media towards a specific goal. Check out one of my Twitter assignments and see some of my students’ tweets about #utopia364.
My students have produced some amazing videos! Some of them are included in the interactive book projects below, but here are a few that don’t require downloading.
One student’s answer to why we still need to read old books in a TL;DR world:
The beginning of Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale”
A cool trailer for a movie based on a classic but somewhat unknown fairy tale:
A vision for a post-apocalyptic utopian society:
Cool “explainer” videos on classic literature:
These .epub files can be downloaded and viewed using iBooks.
A proposal for a new take on “Rumplestiltskin.” (from my First-Year Seminar, Fairy Tales: Transformations and Transgressions)
A letter written to Prospero from Shakespeare’s The Tempest to help him broaden his understanding of magic. (from my gen ed course: Medieval Magic and Mysticism)
iPads in the college classroom
Hood College has been recognized as an Apple Distinguished School for our 1:1 iPad program. I use my iPad daily for my work, and encourage my students to do the same. I have videos on how to use your iPad in college posted to my YouTube channel. You can also check out my official Hood College Teaching with the iPad video to see my students putting their iPads to work.
If you’re a college student or instructor looking for some useful apps, check out my iPad app recommendations and feel free to send me new suggestions: mitchellbuck at hood dot edu.
One of my favorite assignments is the influence map: a visual representation of an individual’s understanding of a concept, idea, historical period, etc.
Here’s an example of this type of assignment that I use in my British Lit survey course.
And here is my own Influence Map representing my understanding of “England.” Click on the image to see a larger version of the file:
For the curious, I made this map using the Photo Wall Pro app on my iPad, but influence maps can be created in almost any program: Photoshop, GIMP, and even Word or PowerPoint.
In previous courses, I have asked students to design websites in lieu of or in addition to group presentations. Here’s an example of a web-based assignment.
And here are some of the sites my students have created about life in medieval England: