A surprise outcome which reminds me why I love teaching

Friday I taught the only face-to-face class in my Emerging Technologies and Learning course. The remainder of the course is online; however, I will likely offer a few face-to-face tutorials for those students who want a little extra coaching with new technologies.

The three hour class included introductions and an overview of the course material. In addition it included some time for the students, who were randomly assigned to groups online, to meet the members of their groups and talk a little about the group work. Finally, the class ended with a mobile learning activity.

Given this was the only chance at a face-to-face, I wanted to take advantage of that opportunity to have students share their experience with mobile devices but also to create something with a mobile device. In groups of four, the students did a show-and-tell about their mobile devices and each group created a presentation using only their mobile devices. They had 40-minutes to complete the task.

I was not surprised that each of the groups successfully completed a presentation in that timeframe, even the group who borrowed my iPad because they didn’t have a full size tablet. All the groups chose to use Prezi. The Prezi iPad app makes it really easy for the students to create a presentation directly on the mobile device. One of the groups even figured out how to use the camera on the iPad to take a picture and include it within their presentation. But it wasn’t this that surprised me, what surprised me was the affect the activity had on my students. 

After the class, a few students commented on how it was the mobile activity that encouraged them. That building the presentation with only the help of their peers showed them that they COULD do it. One of the students, who was completely nervous about technology before she entered the class, found the confidence to explore a few new online tools. Since the class, several of the students commented that this one activity gave them the confidence (and permission) to play and to explore. Students who were hesitant about the course, are now engaged in it.

When the face-to-face class was over, I didn’t know how well it went. Unlike short one-time workshops, you don’t get immediate learner feedback at the end of every lesson. Now that I have seen the ah-ha moments being shared by the students in the online discussion board, I’m encourage. I created that activity because I thought it would be fun, I did not anticipate that it would be quite an impactful as it was. With every positive story I read, I feel the rewards of being a teacher. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy now :-) I love teaching!

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