Instructional Technologies

Learning Technologies at IU Bloomington

Learning technologies encompass a huge array of devices, software, web sites, campus-wide computing services, and cloud services, many of which can be accessed anytime/anywhere. From the more traditional podiums in classrooms that house computers, document cameras, and media players to social networking and social bookmarking sites, all sorts of tools and technologies are finding places in the world of teaching and learning.

The most important thing to remember when using technology in teaching and learning is that learning outcomes come first. What do you want your students to know or be able to do, and how will the technology help them get there? Just because something can be done with technology doesn’t mean that it must be. Be intentional with any tools that you use in teaching and learning, and take the time to get comfortable with the technologies you want to use in your teaching. Whether your classroom is face-to-face, online, or somewhere in between, you can think about ways to help your students engage with the material and each other to collaborate, research, share resources, improve their communications skills, reflect, and so on. Different types of technologies may enable these activities.

Student Engagement in Class

  • Student response systems (clickers) can be used to facilitate just-in-time teaching, peer instruction, and lively discussion, or they can be used for low-stakes assessments.
  • Microblogging tools (like Twitter) or chat streams can be used to allow students to ask and answer questions during lecture.
  • Tools for collaborative annotation or social note-taking can allow instructors to model disciplinary ways of thinking to their students.
  • Games can reinforce content, encourage collaboration and teamwork, facilitate role-play, help students understand different viewpoints, and even change real-world behavior.

Student Engagement Outside of Class

  • Collaborative annotation of electronic texts (including video and audio files) and documents encourages students to synthesize and prioritize in their reading and preparation.
  • Writing assignments in blogs or forums can help students read and prepare for class with more purpose and can serve to “prime” students for successful discussions in class.
  • Wikis provide a flexible space where students can organize content, put together dictionaries of course terminology, collaborate to create study guides, or share information such as links to resources.
  • Serious games encourage students to dig deeper into content, consider conflicting viewpoints, and prepare for discussions in class.

Collaboration

  • File-sharing sites (like Box@IU, Google docs, or Canvas Files) give students a place to work together on documents and projects.
  • Chat rooms can provide a quick meeting space for students to discuss projects, ask each other questions, or chat with the instructor.
  • Video-conferencing services can be used for office hours, online class meetings, guest speakers, or group meetings for students working together on projects.
  • Tagging and bookmarking tools (like Diigo or Stumble Upon) allow students to build a shared bibliography of web resources.

Communication Skills

  • Tools for producing audio and video presentations (Audacity, Adobe Premiere, and Adobe Presenter are examples of software that all IU students can download free from iuware.iu.edu) have become commonplace and inexpensive, and many students have experience using them. Assignments and projects using different media allow students to explore and use other forms of expression in addition to writing.
  • Interacting in forums, commenting on blogs, and participating in chat discussions often require that students make arguments based on data and course information. These activities also give students practice using appropriate tone in their writing.
  • Interviewing and meeting via videoconferencing is a 21st century skill that students need to experience. Using these tools as appropriate gives students valuable exposure to and practice with what are becoming ubiquitous technologies.

For More Help or Information

For more assistance with exploring learning technologies that fit your instructional goals, contact an instructional consultant at the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning. We can help you identify technologies that fit with your learning outcomes, course contexts, and technological experience. For technical help with specific technologies, try the IU Knowledge Base.