Faculty Experiences - Lisa Travis
What matters most to you in your teaching?
How are you using technology as a tool to achieve your teaching goals?
How have your students responded to your use of technology?
What new goals do you have for using technology in teaching?
How could the University better facilitate the use of technology in instruction?
Relate theory to practice
Show what you're talking about
Class web site
Bringing It To Life
I try to give students in my developmental psychology courses something they're going to remember. Of course, I also want them to get a strong background in the academic core of the subject matter, and I try to keep them engaged and interested while I'm teaching, because that makes it more fun for me and for them.
Technology's great for promoting that interest, both in learning the academic material and in relating it to real children. It really helps to be able to show a brief video clip to illustrate something you're talking about in class. Seeing a real child exhibit the behavior that you've just been talking about makes the students believe in it, and it's always entertaining and fun to watch children do things--it brings it to life.
One of the more popular topics we talk about is attachment--different patterns of attachment that kids have at about one year of age with their care-givers, usually their parents. It's one thing to hear about those patterns, but it's really nice to be able to see an example of the way attachment is measured in children, and of the different patterns of responses that different children have. Another interesting topic for me personally, as a mom, is sensory motor development. When my son was between 6 weeks and 3 months, I videotaped the various changes he went through in learning to grasp objects. It happens very fast, from not being able to do it at all, to reaching up randomly, to trial and error--sometimes they contact something, sometimes they don't--and then over 3 months he eventually became able to purposely reach out and grab something. I edited the tape, so now the students can just see the changes taking place in a little five-minute segment. You really notice a big change, and it impresses upon the students how difficult it is for infants to master this.
I also incorporate as many video segments as I can from other sources, such as textbook CDs, into my PowerPoint lecture presentations. I put the slides on our Blackboard web site. I haven't posted video clips for students to watch, although I think I probably could.
Student response has been positive--they always comment in my evaluations, "more videotape!" As I've come to realize how popular the segments are, I've been on the lookout for how I can integrate more very short clips to illustrate the things that I'm talking about as I go. You select good clips as they come up--you see the little thing that's the perfect videotape to illustrate a particular point.
When they see the video clips, and some of the longer films I show, they tend to ask more questions and just be more responsive. I've had students ask me if they could have access to the videotapes to watch them again on their own time. If I could find a way to do that that didn't clash with various copyright issues, that would be nice. I would integrate them into the assignments, and assign them as homework.
I'd also like to incorporate video resources into my lab course. The way I teach it now, students go into the preschools and observe. But there are some things that you can't study using live observation, and a videotape might help you answer more detailed questions about behavior. If I could have a class work on developing some kind of archive of digital video on CD, it could serve as a library for future study. Then the students could develop projects based on that--there is a lot of great software for coding behaviors on video. The only real barrier to such a project, really, is time: you need to collect the videotape, digitize it, and set it up on the computers for students to use. It would be great if the university could give you teaching credit or release time for resource development.