Salient Points in “Innovative Practices and Technology in International Education”

I’ve been a teacher for many years, but I have never studied how to teach.  This course was very helpful to me in its pedagogical focus, taking us through the types of technology available to us in higher education, and how that technology will affect us as teachers as well as our students.  This has been a very important process for me, beginning to consider the nuances of my classroom filled with different types of learners and many kinds of people.

There are so many technological tools available to appeal to students and for them to appeal to each other in the classroom like presentation tools, cameras and video, social media, and communication platforms.  There are seemingly endless possibilities for students to learn together in groups and on their own through the myriad of software available on computers and applications on phones and tablets.  Individual lessons in this course focusing on understanding how to appeal to visual learners or English as a second-language-learners, for example, through technological tools, was also helpful.  Little things like encouraging a student to take pictures of objects they would like to know the word for, or structuring a powerpoint with the words and images constructed in an ideal way for language learning are the types of information I would never have learned without this class.

Learning major technological tools such as distance learning, LMS, and VLE platforms added a lot to my technological fluency.  I have never interacted as a student or a professor with distance learning, so the platforms and the process of being a teacher or student in a distance learning environment had been missing pieces of my digital literacy before taking this class.  As both a student and a teacher I have come across and interacted with many LMS and VLE systems, but I had never received training on any of them.  It was helpful to learn and understand how to compare LMS and VLE systems, and the process that goes into selecting these platforms.

I hope to get a more in-depth perspective on some of the above-mentioned topics by being able to one day experience a variety of LMS and VLE platforms and participate in the back-end of a distance learning class.  I would also really enjoy the opportunity to read case studies about universities going through the decision-making process to select an LMS, for example.  It would also be very educational to be able to read more literature and research focusing specifically on higher-education as opposed to K-12 teaching.  While teaching is teaching, K-12 environments are quite different from those of higher education and have a whole other set of needs to consider.

Finally, as we are all ideally lifelong students, it would be so helpful to understand better the functionalities of peer coaching and communities of practice in the technological realm and in the world of higher education.  This could spur us as students to become advocates for these types of learning communities in our careers as teachers, and hopefully, to help in the process of achieving more technology literate universities.