Teaching Tools

From Andy to Michael

In preparation for today’s class, my students had to read a few articles, and watch the first episode of The Andy Griffith Show, the first episode of Cheers, and the first episode of Friends. Since the class is built on exploring how digital media has changed television, I thought it was necessary to have a little bit of a foundational history regarding how television has evolved. We also talked about how early television was marketed and some of the broader technological changes that have occurred, especially within the last 30 years.

Today’s activities were a mix of small group discussion, the most mini of lectures, and large group discussion. I really do prefer to mix and match activities if for no other reason than lengthy lectures make me tired (maybe I need to work on my endurance haha). But honestly, I think limiting most things to twenty minute, or less, increments helps to keep the class fresh. When the students were having their small group discussions, I was able to circulate and listen to their conversations, which gave me ideas for things to focus on in large group discussion and other portions of the class. Luckily, my classroom this semester makes it easy to do this, but most of the other classrooms I’ve been in during my college teaching career do not make it easy for instructors to move between the students easily. I’m sure there are valid reasons why most rooms are constructed as they are, but as long as I have the spacious room that I’ve got, I’m definitely going to take advantage of it.

Relatedly, over the summer, I bought this guy:


Kensington Wireless Presenter

It’s a Kensington Wireless Presenter ($32 on Amazon), and while at first I was a bit worried that it’d be a little pretentious to walk around the room with these thing, I have to say that it has been quite useful. I don’t like to be married to the podium, and this lets me move around w/o having to dash back to the computer to show the next slide or start the next video.

For the last chunk of class, we looked at the first episode of The Office (U.S). It’s only the second day, but they were already able to draw on some of the significant influences of technology. Next week, we’re jumping into examining how social media and television have become intertwined, and they’ll begin to move toward their first composition, which will involve both Twitter and Storify. This is my excited face-> 😃