Teaching With Technology

1. Multimedia Technology : Wiki Pages

Wikis can be used for a variety of purposes in composition classes. They serve as spaces for students to write, read, and analyze class assignments. In my English classes on literature, for example, I ask students to post weekly responses to the stories they have read. They post these entries to the wiki page I have created for the class and classmates can read and comment on their peers’ work.


I also use wiki as a “draft” or “peer review” space, encouraging students to post paper drafts and use editing functions to leave comments, changes, or questions on their classmates’ papers.

By centralizing student writing in one place, Wiki pages allow students to practice writing daily while giving the instructor quick access to read and comment on that writing. Additionally, students can read, change, and comment on each other’s work – a process that encourages them to view writing as a written form of conversation.

  • 2. Multimedia Technology – PowerPoint Presentations

I use multimedia presentations weekly, either to present prearranged verbal information (definitions, writing examples, etc.) or to present texts for discussion. I feel it is important to use these types of examples in both my rhetoric and literature classes (I also use them daily in my French classes). I have developed PowerPoint presentations to give the students a better understanding of reading and writing assignments and of the key concepts taught in rhetoric and composition classes (types of proofs, types of speech, types of claim…).


Presenting these concepts via PowerPoint minimizes the time I spend writing on the board and encourages students to take notes, which is important given our use of these definitions/concepts throughout the term. I also use PowerPoint  when discussing rhetorical analysis and visual analysis; two techniques that are much easier to discuss when everyone can see the object of analysis. The following slides are from presentations designed to facilitate that discussion (you will find the detailed lesson plan for these activities under Teaching Load).
I also assign group presentations in many of my classes which require students to learn and use various forms of technology that will be invaluable skills for other class too!
Below, you will find an example of a group presentation created by and presented to my Rhetoric and Composition I class (English 1101). Students were asked to analyze a textual document and to assess the strength and weakness of its composition (creativity, imagery, symbolism, rhetorical situation, etc.). This assignment requires students to process the information they have learned in class and put it into practice. It also requires them to demonstrate their technology skills.


This is an example of a group presentation presented to my English 1102 class. Students were asked to analyze the types of proofs (ethos, logos, pathos) used in an article and assess the validity of the claim/argument being valued here. The following picture was taken during a PowerPoint presentation in class: students analyzed a claim and were encouraged to criticize it and eventually come up with stronger or different arguments from the initial sources they had read for the day. 


  • 3. Multimedia Technology– Listening

Recorded dialogues, interviews, or presidential speeches can prove an invaluable source of teaching, especially when working on the use of pathos and/or fallacies in argument. Using the recorded interview of Tom Cruise on Scientology has yielded excellent results and responses in the classroom.

Copyright: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=UFBZ_uAbxS0

  • 4. Multimedia Technology– YouTube.com

I have also used videos and TV shows on sites like YouTube for example. The brief video clips can provide talking points that can spice up lectures and illustrate important concepts to complement readings (such as one lesson, in which we watched a series of campaign ads to complement discussion of advertising rhetoric) or to discuss the writing process.
One TV clip that I often use is Stephen Colbert’s segment on “wikiality.” This clip always helps me initiate a discussion about the problems with Wikipedia and other websites as sources for academic research.


  • 5. Technology Outside the Classroom

  • Electronic Communication with Students

I use email as part of my courses to remind students of assignments and due dates, etc. I have also realized that students who do not feel comfortable asking questions in class are often willing to ask very insightful questions and offer course feedback via email. I also use the “gmail chat” server to avail myself for students who might have last-minute questions, concerning their assignments. The wiki chatroom is also a great tool for students to meet and work in teams.


  • U-Learn, an online version of the class

Posting class notes, syllabi, assignments and message boards on Ulearn (GSU’s Course Management Website, formerly called WebCT) helps me to see that students are doing the reading and understanding the concepts without the stress of in-class pop-up quizzes (which I may still resort to, from time to time).



  • Googlepages

I have discovered that Ulearn sometimes tends to “freeze” some of my students’ computers. Therefore, I have developed Googlepages (free unlimited webpages, hosted by google) as an online version of the classes I teach –where I post every document they need and also add useful links to other resources (TV shows, Youtube clips, etc.)


Ulearn and Googlepages have served me as problem-free clearing houses for the course syllabus, assignment descriptions, information, announcements and a plethora of links.

  • Comments

The comment functions in Microsoft Word and Adobe Acrobat Professional make it possible to return detailed editing comments on early drafts of student work submitted via email.


  • Wimba Audio (and Sanako)

For my French classes, recorded dialogues for use on listening comprehension exercises are an important part of assessment in the elementary and intermediate French programs at GSU. The dialogues and attendant questions posed on the Ulearn-linked Wimba allows students to develop their listening comprehension and their conversational skills. I also used televised news, movie trailers, film clips, to increase the students’ listening comprehension competence.

  • Hot Potatoes

Hot Potatoes includes six applications, enabling you to create interactive multiple-choice, short-answer, jumbled-sentence, crossword, matching/ordering and gap-fill exercises for the World Wide Web. I have used the online sources provided by frenchteacher.net and created my own exercises to teach French words in a fun and interactive way.


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