Gearing up for edtech Spring ’13

Well, it’s going to be an exciting year for instructional technology here at OWU. With wireless presentations and PowerPoint-free audience responses, and even wireless mice with laser pointers!  The capabilities are expanding.

My technical training workshop this morning was the first time I’ve used a wireless mouse with a laser pointer and only the second time I’ve used TurningPoint Anywhere Polling. I’ve experienced again something adventurous teachers feel when they try something new: excitement as the session approaches, fumbling through the session, and reflecting on lessons learned after.

Perhaps I should only change one variable at a time… It will keep me–as well as my class–from getting overwhelmed. It probably also would have allowed me to better practice with one or the other. This is important advice for faculty wanting to be more agile in their teaching: with all the trial & error & learning from mistakes, it’s better to go slowly.

The wireless mouse is one that was discovered in a drawer in the training room. I recall seeing it when I first started here; I don’t recall why I didn’t use it. (That shows how much I use the drawers in there.) A student worker found it and got it working late last semester, so we hooked it up to the instructor’s workstation. It’s obviously many years old and the track ball movement isn’t that smooth. But it’s usable, may need some cleaning, and is a great tool to have and be familiar/comfortable with.

The clickers I didn’t use as much as I had planned. Being agile means being able to scale back as the moment demands. I discovered that once you set the type of question you can’t switch to another type (1-5 versus y/n, for example) in the midst of a session–at least with Quick Poll and no question list. I had several new features I had to get through hands-on introductions for, and couldn’t afford to steer too far from that path to handle other questions that came up. And, since I was introducing features that had to do with both content areas and the Grade Center, ancillary questions certainly came up.

All in all, a good session, despite my sore throat. I’m looking forward to doing more of them–a lot more of them–starting next week.

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