An idea for a book on pedagogy

Posted: February 1, 2013 in Uncategorized
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When people ask me how I’m doing, I’ve lately been saying that I live in a constant state of low grade panic. Once they stop laughing at me, they usually ask why. It’s because I’m looking for a job, and finishing my dissertation. And it’s really hard to do both at once. It’s not a question of difficult work. It’s psychologically difficult. I keep forgetting to work on my dissertation because I’m focusing so hard on writing cover letters for jobs across the country.

I bring this up because today I went and looked at my dissertation draft, currently clocking in at 120 pages, and found a note I had written there, a note that was an idea for a book. Actually, it was just an idea for a title. But the title is pretty self-suggesting.When I write a book on pedagogy (not that’s a when, not an if), I think I’m going to call it “Teachnology: pedagogy in an age of rapid technological change” or something like that. At the very least, I’m going to use that term (Teachnology). It’s an important idea, I think.

The problem is that technology tends to be adapted to teaching very slowly. And usually, when it’s first adopted, it ends up being used poorly. When people first used Second Life to teach, they made a virtual classroom and held a lecture. How is that new and different? It may be slightly advantageous for an online class, but essentially it’s just using a new technology to do something that they used to do anyway.

The same can be said about powerpoint. When I was an undergrad and people first started using it, Power Point was just a way of doing overhead slides without constantly having to switch the clear plastic sheets. It took years before people started to really see how Power Point can do NEW things, and can help teaching by doing those new things.

As new technology surfaces, we as teachers need to learn how to use it to do NEW things, not just to do the same old stuff we’ve always done with new bells and whistles.

Hopefully, I’ll get an opportunity to do that at a nice school next year. And then, maybe, I’ll start writing books about pedagogy. Aside from Teachnology, there’s always “Pedagogy of Deception: the use of misdirection in teaching.”

I think that would sell.

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