Little bytes: Using technology

Teacher assisting a college student in a computer lab

It’s that time of year… back to school time! For most of us, it evokes some memories filled with sensory images: the newly opened box of Crayola crayons, the notebooks and new pencils, piles of textbooks waiting for their paper covers, the school bus picking up our child for the first time….and for those of us who work in education, the to-do list that seems to grow with every minute. It can get a little frustrating! Then you add in technology resources and it seems even more overwhelming. You might be learning a brand-new system of materials or getting up to speed with recent updates. Ever go to a smorgasbord? You can only eat one bite at a time… or one byte at a time in this case.

We all know it’s not effective to toss out every possible resource to students or embed every feature. Think of yourself as the master chef (or sous-chef) at the smorgasbord–what’s your featured dish? What new recipe are you trying? Or maybe just a little new spice? You can choose to try specific new features or resources, and carefully craft your “dish” to enhance student “bytes.” Research underscores that it’s what we believe: it’s all about implementation, a deep integration of the technology tools you use into your curriculum, and YOU: your engagement with the students and curriculum.

So where do you start? Using a Pearson MyLab or Mastering product? Visit the Educator Training and Support site (click to view the math example site here) and take a look at newly updated resources like Quick Start Guides, videos, implementation guides with tips and best practices, case studies, and more. You might also want to pick up a copy of Small Teaching as well as How We Learn. Both are easy to read and can give you some great ideas for new approaches to your course design and class management. You can take a look at a presentation from James Lang, the author of Small Teaching and get some quick ideas for you. And you don’t need to read the whole book at one time! One chapter alone can give you some great resources. Many times it’s also a little inspiration. We eat every day, right, so it’s a good idea to pick up some new food for thought on a regular basis.

Here’s a little byte for you: the power of forgetting. Want to know more? Read chapter 2 of How We Learn. How about quitting before you are ahead? Try chapter 7. Still thinking about how to build a growth mindset? In Small Teaching you’ll learn strategies for improving student learning using a series of modest but powerful changes. These strategies are designed to bridge the gap between primary research and the classroom environment in a way that can be implemented by any faculty in any discipline, and even integrated into pre-existing teaching techniques. Each chapter introduces the concept in cognitive theory, explains how/when it should be employed, and shares applications from different fields.

I hope that whetted your appetite.


About the Author
Diane Hollister

Diane Hollister

Diane Hollister has been teaching college courses since 1992. In June 2015, she resigned from her full-time position at Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pennsylvania, where all the math courses have undergone some level of redesign. She still teaches online there and now is part of Pearson’s Efficacy team, helping instructors to implement programs and strategies that bolster student success.

She is intrigued by neurobiological research and learning theory, and she was quick to adopt adaptive learning as a new tool in her courses. Not only does she strive to help her students succeed, but Diane enjoys the collaboration with her peers. She has taught a variety of courses and loves learning how new technology and resources can help students be more successful.