Monday, August 15, 2016

Audio Reflections: A New Form of Response

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology, lately.  I was marveling at how closely it has become attached to me, as a part of my life.  What brought this on was a recent trip to the grocery store.  During the short, five-minute ride to the store to pick up a few things, I glanced down at my cup holder and realized that I didn’t have my phone with me.  

Now, I’m not someone who I would define as “attached to my phone.”  I often misplace it or forget to take it out of my purse of backpack for hours on end, suddenly alert to a muffled ringing that I then have to attempt to locate.  However, I’ll be the first to admit than in any awkward social situation (waiting rooms, bus stops, lines, hallways, basically any time where I am completely surrounded by strangers), I often take it out and stare at its blank screen, pretending I have something important to do with it so that I don’t have to interact with others.  Although, I really shouldn’t worry, because the strangers around me are doing the exact same thing, furiously typing or swiping their way across their glossy screens, eyes glazed over as they shuffle in place, waiting for their first chance to bolt.  Regardless, I actually found myself contemplating whether or not I should turn around and get my phone before continuing on my way.

Reflecting on this, it has become ever more obvious how much technology has not only encapsulated our lives, but have provided us with ways in which to express ourselves in new and interesting ways.  Just ask those three high school girls in the food court, not talking to each other, but instead spending their afternoon snapping selfies or Snapchat videos and posting them #atthemallwithmybesties.

So, it’s no wonder that educators everywhere are brainstorming for an answer to the question, “How can I use technology in my classroom?”  Don’t get me wrong, there is tons of literature out there explaining different tools and tricks and gadgets to get your students involved with, some of which I have already talked about earlier this year.  But technology changes every day and with that prompts another step up from educators to again incorporate technology in new and interesting ways.

That’s why I think the article I stumbled across on the Faculty Focus website is pure gold.  This article, written by Karen Sheriff LeVan and Marissa E. King focuses on how best to utilize audio as a means of student reflection in your courses.  LeVan and King bring out prominent ideas of what it would be like for students to be able to freely discuss their reflections without the worries that accompany writing.  Rather than focusing on comma placement, spelling, and other grammatical features of their work, they’ll be able to spend more time focusing on iterating their spoken content.  Really, a genius idea.

For more information on how to include audio responses in your courses, consult LeVan and King’s article here.

Happy recording!

Written By: Jessica Moser

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