Two technology-driven projects at Princeton are improving teaching and learning in beginning German. Jamie Rankin, coordinator of language teaching and pedagogy and a senior lecturer in the department since 1991, introduced both approaches at a November 19 Lunch ‘n Learn seminar.
The first project is a database that provides teaching resources for graduate student instructors. The database links the syllabus with day-by-day teaching ideas and digitized materials. As a result, even first year instructors with limited teaching experience can develop a feel for the rhythm and pulse of a class, while making pedagogical choices based on their individual classroom experience. Students gain access to these materials as well as past tests for practice.
On Tuesday, October 9, 2007, the Council on Science and Technology at Princeton University sponsored a talk by Professor Chris Dede, the Timothy E. Wirth Professor in Learning Technologies at Harvard University.
With a team at Harvard, MIT and the University of Wisconsin, Dede is exploring how emerging interactive media are opening up intriguing new methods of teaching. Without doubt, he emphasizes, we live in an interesting time. Computers and telecommunication are changing the kinds of knowledge and skills that society wants from our graduates. Indeed, many of our students will work with knowledge and careers that do not yet exist. IT is changing the ways we teach and learn, and it is changing the characteristics of students at every age who habitually use advanced media outside of academic settings in their lives for communication, for entertainment, and for personal expression. These devices and forms of interaction and expression are building learning strengths and preferences that are different from those of prior generations; this offers interesting opportunities for educators.
At OIT’s Lunch ‘n Learn seminar on February 7, Janet Temos, the Director of OIT’s Educational Technologies Center and Joshua Rabinowitz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, demonstrated the use of clickers (also known as Personal Response Systems, and Student Response Systems) in University classrooms.
Before the talk, they distributed simple 5-button clickers (similar to TV remote controls) to each member of the audience. Attendees got to experience first hand how to use the devices. The fact is… it’s not hard. To answer a question, audience members simply had to press one of the five buttons, “A” through “E.” After responding to a simple question, Temos and Rabinowitz showed us that our answers had been tallied and displayed the results. They also demonstrated that the answers can be displayed as they are cast.