November 15, 2005
Digital Classroom - Ammon
I think digital media is still in the infant stages of teaching usage, and as such is caught in a middle point as to what it has done and what it can do. To be uncharacteristically short for a historian, I think digital media has added no real new dimension to teaching and learning. On the other hand, I don't feel that the full potential for digital media has been reached. I shall explain (in true, long-winded historian fashion in the 'Extended Entry').
First off, I think the affect of digital media will have a similar impact on the field of history as with other fields. For the purpose of this post, I had K-12 teaching and learning in mind.
I don't think digital media has added anything new to teaching and learning. It seems to me that anything that can be done with media of the digital persuasion, can and has been done with conventional forms of media (pictures, movies, slides, film strips – a personal favorite, et.). In effect, it is my belief that digital media, as we know it today (and bits of yesterday, too), is basically another teaching and learning tool, not unlike what we already have. Examples: A student goes to a web page (the principle form of digital media) to learn more about subject X. The student is presented with words, pictures, and if the budget was big enough, interactive games and movies. These things were already available. Said student could open a text book and find words and pictures. The teacher could provide a movie or film strip (my personal favorite). The student could interact with fellow students (wo, can they do that nowadays?) and play a game. All with relatively the same level of teaching and learning quality. I admit that there are some blatant generalities in my analysis, but this is pretty much off the top of my head, and not a detailed research here. I've thought about it, but nay the less, off the top of my head.
While digital media may not provide much new, I do believe that it has the extreme potential to benefit in ways other media cannot. As in all things, it must be used in moderation and with wisdom. The surveys and research being done about the use of technology in teaching and learning is the necessary step in determining how best to apply digital media. An example of good use of digital media (in this case a very interactive computer program used at a K-12 school). I worked at this school where I was able to observe the results in the reading skills of students before and after using the computer program for an extended period of time. The program was set up for students who had problems reading at their grade level. They would be taken out of class for 10-20 minutes each day to 'play' this game on the computer. With nary an exception, each student improved their reading because of this digital media. With proper usage, such as vaguely described, digital media can have a great impact on learning and teaching.
Anyhow, in a historian nutshell, that's how I think digital media has and will have an affect on teaching and learning history.
[The above was written as such with total awareness and apprehension that someone, somewhere, would actually read it.]
Posted by ashephe1 at November 15, 2005 05:11 PM
"I don't think digital media has added anything new to teaching and learning. It seems to me that anything that can be done with media of the digital persuasion, can and has been done with conventional forms of media (pictures, movies, slides, film strips – a personal favorite, et"
Of the top of my head I can think one example of digital collaborative learning that is near impossible to duplicate in any convential form: discussion forums (or blogging). To have a forum where a student can purposely read the thoughts of their colleagues (very different from the discusions in class as they have time to research and document ideas) and respond is invaluable. In addition to that, to allow the discussion to take place at times conducive the students' schedule is also quite amazing.
Posted by: nona at November 15, 2005 06:38 PM
That's a good point. Something similar to blogging and discussion forums is 'brain-storming'.
I fear I used too many superlatives and absolutes in my statements. I meant my comments to be much more general than they sound.
Posted by: Ammon at November 15, 2005 10:44 PM