Sunday, October 05, 2003

This is my first blog. How exciting! I'm creating this online journal in order to be a better teacher. I hope it will clarify my thoughts on a variety of issues. I've recently made a huge effort to teach using technology. This includes using powerpoint, web authoring, blackboard, digital imagery, audio files, and digitizing movies and clips from television shows. I think thus far, about midway in the Fall 2003 semester, it has been very successful. This is mainly because I decided to no longer teach the texts. What I mean by this is that in the past, I would expect students to read the assignments before coming to class. They rarely did, and had little motivation to do so, because when they got to class I would summarize the reading material for them. Now students are really doing the reading and we have had excellent discussions on a high level in my classes. We are talking about critically reflective ideas instead of details. This is due to to innovations I've used. First, I create blackboard quizzes on the daily reading assignments that students must take before classtime. I create a pool of 5 questions, and the students are randomly given 3 questions, multiple-choice, and they have 5 minutes to complete these. Second, before each assignment I have a list of questions and terms that I expect them to know before class. In class, we examine the questions in powerpoint, and I have programmed my computer to randomly select one of their pictures. That student is then responsible for answering the question. After we briefly go over the questions, we then use the rest of the class to discuss, compare and contrast various ancient texts, including the Bible. Anyway, let me end this--my first blog--by saying thus far I have been very impressed with the results. I told my students I believe that often they achieve to where the expectations are set, and that I have personally raised the bar in my classes. I've adopted the moto "I care whether you're learning." I write that on the board before each class.

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