Digital Pedagogy

Digital Pedagogy has always been an interest of mine, even when I was teaching middle school with Art and Life through UNC Campus Y I had an interest in creating digital assignments for my students. It was slightly difficult to do because I was only with them once a week, but we were able to do some interesting projects with Google Art Project. If I had known about it at the time I would have probably used Thinglink for them to create projects, because it certainly seemed like an interesting way to learn. After working with pinterest as a pedagogical tool I think it has the potential to be very helpful for classes. I could certainly be interesting as a group exercise and collaboration without doing the dreaded group project.

Since working in the Digital Innovation Lab I have been exposed to several strategies of digital pedagogy and even had a hand in creating the requirements for the Digital Pedagogy badge offered to graduate students through the lab. One grad student that I was particularly impressed with who was doing this type of work had used Omeka to create digital versions of shakespeare sonnets and then she was able to add additional context for her students to use like videos, audio, and archival materials.

In the Kimon Keramidas article “Interactive Development as Pedagogical Process: Digital Media Design in the Classroom as a Method for Recontextualizing the Study of Material Culture” I was most struck by the fact that the students were able to create a non-linear timeline and understand a material object using the digital tools. I think the idea of using digital tools to understand non-western cultures could be one of the really beneficial uses of digital pedagogy. Of course you run into the fact that a lot of technology is developed within the western sphere of influence.

As we mentioned in class, it’s possible that perhaps digital pedagogy is not necessarily for more high level classes but K-12. Many museums offer lessons plans for their objects, and sometimes digital tools that teachers can use for their classes. There are plenty of digital tools that can be used now in classrooms, the question of course becomes should you. As an example, when I worked at Expo Milano we had this digital game about food insecurity, because that expo as a whole was about “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” While it was a good idea, in practice it didn’t quite work because there was quite a bit of text, and many of our visitors didn’t speak English.

Another issue with digital pedagogy that I think University of Toronto highlights is what digital pedagogy is not.

Brian Croxall states that “some argue that just because you are using digital technology in your teaching, does not mean that you are practicing digital pedagogy, especially if you are not reflecting on pedagogical change.” He illustrates this point beautifully by referring to Paul Fyfe’s statement, “if the tool you have is a hammer, it is tempting to treat problems as nails,” meaning that a simple incorporation of a tool, for example, powerpoint, in a lecture, without thinking about how the pedagogical approach to the lecture should change as a result, is essentially the same as a lecture where Powerpoint is not used at all.

What Digital Pedagogy is NOT

This quote highlights the key with any of the digital humanities tools that we’ve looked at. You may be able to use some type of digital methodology but it will only matter if you’re thinking about the methodological approach and why you’ve chosen this particular approach over others.