Transition to Digital Media In and Out of the Classroom (Part 1)

Digital learning and research...

When I first started teaching about 12-15 years ago, I spent a lot of time working through each textbook, transferring key points to overheads and then lecturing from that material.  From time to time I would photo copy an interesting article I had read in a magazine or newspaper and bring that into the classroom as well to supplement learning, help students make connections and give the information we were covering some context.  Still, I was the primary source of information and the textbook was there to support student learning and back me up as a source of that information.

About 5  years later I begin to utilize power points more so than any overheads for my lectures as more and more computers and projectors started showing up in the classrooms for instructors to use.   Transferring my overheads to power points was tedious but necessary.  I was still the primary source of information and the textbook was there in support of what we were covering in the classroom.  Although I knew students really were not learning “more” or “better” from power points, this is what they were beginning to expect.  Our LMS was bulky and painful, but I started to see more uses for it now that things were moving in that digital direction.  I still however would copy interesting articles for them and bring them into the classroom on paper.  The difference being now I was finding more “interesting articles” via the web which was really beginning to proliferate with the amount and type of information available.  This was probably circa 2005.  A century in data and information ago!

Around that time, something strange began to happen.  It was subtle but it was there, in the classroom, in the hallways, even in my office!  Because of the proliferation of information available at the fingertips of my students online, I was becoming a secondary source of information, not the primary one.  This is when more and more laptops began to show up in the classroom and students were beginning to take notes on their own laptops (or surf the web, I really couldn’t tell the difference).  More social media sites began to take hold and Google became a household word.  When I had a question, instead of going to a textbook or research article, I would “Google” it myself so I knew exactly what the students were doing when they had questions too.  I knew times were changing when discussing a concept one day in class, I had just reiterated a particular concept and a student raised their hand and said, “I just Googled it and this website says ‘this’.”  Yes, times were changing.


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Tiffany Reiss

Passionate educator, entrepreneur and health promoter.