Steven McGee Coaches Teachers on Teaching with Technology

Steven McGee Coaches Teachers on Teaching with Technology

teaching with technology class
In the SESP Teaching with Technology class, 26 students tap on iPads as output from their devices is projected onto a 20-foot video wall. This class taught by research associate professor Steven McGee prepares teachers for making the best use of leading-edge technology in their classrooms.

To give students the opportunity to explore a new tool, SESP loaned each student in the Teaching with Technology class an iPad. The course is designed to help teachers evaluate the educational potential of new technologies and develop ways to use them consistent with their teaching philosophy.

McGee sees the iPad as a promising tool because it’s relatively inexpensive but has power similar to that of a laptop and offers many free applications for teachers to use. With many schools adopting iPads, the Teaching with Technology course will give teachers hands-on experience with technologies they may encounter in their schools.

However, what he emphasizes with his students is honing the ability to understand “how the features of new technologies fit with their teaching.” This skill includes learning how to “cut through the hype,” he says.

Steven McGee
Teachers are faced with an array of new technologies all the time. “This course helps them build skills for how to incorporate new technologies,” says McGee. “Whatever we teach them about now will be different five years from now. … The important skill is the ability to analyze new technologies for their educational potential.” 

Teaching with Technology features in-depth study of three emerging technologies: personal broadcasting, wikis and gaming. Students gain experience with all three and reflect on how each can support their teaching philosophy.

In the personal broadcasting unit, students learn about blogs, podcasts and Twitter, for example. They consider how to design curriculum and materials using these tools. “We analyze their designs by how they matches their teaching philosophy and the research literature,” says McGee.

As the students study wikis, they learn that they can create on the Internet as well as consume. They dig into editing Wikipedia articles, and they also collaboratively build content for a website. Classroom activities include interacting with a guest speaker on iChat to learn about current uses of wiki technology in education. This quarter students collaboratively improved a Wikipedia article on access to higher education using current research from President Morton Schapiro and economics professor Burton Weisbrod.

During their study of gaming, students learn about the potential of games for learning. “There is a great deal of research in learning sciences that shows gaming techniques can be powerful for education,” says McGee. As a final project, students choose a new technology and create a design for how to use it in the classroom.

McGee encourages his students to be open to the most productive uses of technology. “You have to understand what’s good about a tool and how it can be used in the classroom,” he says.
By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 9/13/12