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Technology in the Classroom

September 12, 2007

My wife brought home the latest issue of Educause Review from her office today. There is an interesting article by Patricia McGee and Veronica Diaz entitled “Wikis and Podcasts and Blogs! Oh, My! What Is a Faculty Member Supposed to Do?“. Since most of the readers of this blog are more technologically savvy than myself, it might not provide any new information. However, I was by references to technological support in the article, especially in light of my continuing travails this semester.

At both universities I am teaching at this semester I have found myself in situations where my teaching ability was hampered by lack of technological support. In both cases the technologies in question were mandated by the university. That is to say, I was required to use technology but then hung out to dry by IT.

I have not been able to access class rosters, to place class materials on reserves, or to communicate adequately with students — all due to overtaxed servers, poor infrastructures and mismanaged accounts. This has not made me happy.

I am hoping this is just the newest verse to the age-old adjunct’s blues, but I suspect that my case is not unique nor indicative of only adjuncts. I guess we must believe the lie: technology only makes our lives easier!

  1. September 13, 2007 8:22 am

    I hate that lie. If you don’t know how to use a tool, set up a tool for people to use, or communicate to others what to do with the tool – the technology does not make one’s life easier.

    I’m a geek. I voluntarily run linux on my laptop for goodness-sake, but that’s a lie I can’t stand.

    Having said that, the idea of properly setting up a jabber server with access only given to people university accounts makes me think of some possibilities that wouldn’t take a ton of over-head.

  2. September 17, 2007 7:47 pm

    Hey guys (I assume?! “wezlo” is ambiguous…:-) kinda fun!) ~ I got back to ya, finally!

  3. September 17, 2007 7:55 pm

    btw, I forgot to mention that it was too weird (in a very cool kind of way) that wezlo mentioned “Pink in the Wall” ~ because I showed part of The Wall to the first-year students in college writing as our initial stimulus.

    Wild, huh? 🙂

  4. September 24, 2007 5:22 am

    I lost ya?

    ah well. I’ve got colleagues who are new or new-ish to blogging. Seemed a fortuitous bit of timing to have some interaction, but maybe i did not respond to the parts you were hoping we would continue to discuss? Was it concerning notions of privacy and what “public education” actually entails as commercial enterprise?

  5. jimgetz permalink*
    September 24, 2007 8:48 am

    Well, my concerns are more that administrators require professors to implement technologies without providing them the support to use the technology effectively.

    For example, at the moment I still have one or two students who are having problems “seeing” my class site in Blackboard. However, I’m required to use this medium to distribute articles and the like rather than have copies on reserve in the library. Forcing folks to use the technology without backing it up with adequate tech support sucks.

    As far as losing me… yeah. Responding to my comments on your site with comments on mine is a bit… odd. And, it tends to lose anyone else lurking about.


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