Teaching

Max taught the introductory course, Introduction to Educational Technology, to undergraduate learners from 2018-2021. Max taught this course in the blended learning environment, strategically leveraging the affordances of technology to benefit students in both the online and face-to-face environments.

As a teacher, Max is an enthusiastic educator who believes in the importance of fostering flexible, adaptable skills and a scientific attitude (e.g., promoting inquiry, seeking evidence to back up claims) in students. Max aims to promote the development of lifelong learners who have the skills to “learn how to learn” in dynamic contexts. Short-term goals of a course and the learning that takes place inside the classroom is critical, but Max makes sure to achieve these through focusing on knowledge and skills that can be integrated into life well beyond the classroom walls.

Flexible skills are those that are applicable in many formats and contexts, fostering an approach to thinking and solving problems instead of a limited list of “things” that someone can do with a particular tool. Flexible skills empower students by helping them learn how to learn, encouraging lifelong, independent learning. This develops learners into problem solvers, critical thinkers, and metacognitive and reflective learners. Similarly, a scientific attitude develops a mindset of curiosity, asking questions, aligning goals with relevant problems, and valuing the role of evidence to back up claims. Together, flexible skills and a scientific attitude can empower learners and give them opportunities to succeed in a dynamic, complex world.

Max approaches teaching from a constructivist perspective, designing learning experiences that are active, social, and contextual, while connecting new knowledge to learners’ prior experiences. Max believes that everyone benefits when a collaborative, safe community is formed in the classroom where each student can bring their own perspectives and learn from one another. Along with constructivist and social constructivist principles, emphases of Max’s teaching include multimedia learning, technology integration, innovative pedagogical strategies, metacognitive reflection, collaborative activities, and bringing diverse perspectives into the conversation.

Below, you will find a table that includes some of the common elements you can expect to see inside Max’s classroom with specific corresponding strategies Max employs to execute those elements

ElementsExample Strategies
Learner autonomy for technological tools and topicsIn a world where technology changes at a frenetic pace, it’s about solving complex problems and achieving goals, not just memorizing facts or skills for one particular tool in one particular context. Whenever possible, Max makes choosing a specific technological tool or topic for a project open-ended. For example, in Max’s Introduction to Educational Technology class, learners are required to learn how to create engaging video-based materials. Max teaches basic skills that different types of video-editing software have in common (e.g., adding media and effects), as well as encouraging an approach to thinking about these projects such as collecting relevant resources and troubleshooting. However, learners are able to choose any video-editing technology they are comfortable with and make a creative project about any topic, increasing motivation and engagement while still achieving the instructional goals.
Student-centered learningMax’s class is entitled “Introduction to Educational Technology,” yet there are semesters in which more than half of the students are in diverse majors that are not relevant to education. For these students, Max updated creative assignments so they can be useful and applicable to all learners. For example, Max created a Digital Poster project where learners are required to analyze a technological tool that can be used to solve problems / achieve goals in any professional setting – not just education.
Technology IntegrationMax sets his students up for success by providing them experience with a range of practical technological tools to achieve learning goals. Max carefully chooses technology to use to fit course and student goals, ensuring that appropriate technology is integrated into instruction that benefits teaching and learning. Examples of technology that Max implements include infographic software, image- and video-editing tools, website builders, collaborative technology, concept map software, spreadsheets, interactive presentation software, and more.
Question-posingMax models and encourages question-posing throughout every class meeting and in feedback in the online environment. Each class meeting begins with questions for students to discuss in partners that connect the current content to prior knowledge. When learners are engaged in group work, Max is constantly visiting the groups and asking probing questions. During full-class discussions, Max models question-posing but also takes a facilitator role and allows space for learners to ask thought-provoking questions that push the discussion into new, deeper areas.
Metacognitive thinkingMax models and encourages metacognitive thinking as much as possible. Max believes metacognition helps students take control of their learning and develop attributes that help them learn how to learn for the future. Max is constantly pushing the ideas of stepping back and reflecting on prior knowledge, beliefs, and preconceived notions when encountering new information or content. Max uses visual tools (e.g., flowcharts or tables) in the online environment to encourage planning and regulation during learning activities. Finally, activities typically end with a self-reflection or evaluation of what the learners did in class that day through a class discussion.
Collaborative learning activitiesThe bulk of in-class activities in Max’s classroom are active, social learning activities that take place in small groups. These are typically exploration activities where learners are given an open-ended prompt and it is their job to collaborate, explore a topic, and produce some type of artifact based on the instructions. In the online environment, it is common for Max to use collaborative tools (e.g., Google Docs) to promote social learning online and have students experience the affordances of these tools so they can use them in their personal and professional lives.
Resources from diverse voicesReadings and videos used in Max’s instruction come from diverse voices and perspectives. Because Max’s research involves social and political aspects of information online, including the role that individual differences regarding backgrounds and biases can play, Max is deliberate in including balanced resources from diverse voices. This avoids alienating any learners, and the diverse perspectives foster fruitful discussion in class where both sides of a debate can be explored in a respectful manner. Topics in Max’s class where this is especially important include information and media literacy, ethics and educational technology, and the digital divide.
A community environmentMax works hard to get to know his students well to establish a positive community environment where students can be themselves inside the classroom. This includes studying student names and interests early in the semester, creating introductory video-based online assignments that allow students to show who they are and interact with one another, and continuing to include activities that allow learners to be themselves in social settings throughout the semester. Max achieves this through ensuring that non-academic questions still play a part in the classroom, planning for time and space where learners get to actively be themselves and interact with one another, and creating platforms where learners can share their work and interact with one another in the online environment. Max finds that while this time is not always spent actively pursuing course goals, it is well worth it in making learners engaged and comfortable, leading to more enthusiastic participation and higher quality of work.

Click the links below to see student evaluations of Max from previous semesters in Introduction to Educational Technology. Overall Instructor Evaluation scores are listed as well (maximum = 5).

Introduction to Educational Technology – Course Description: 

EME2040 introduces students to various instructional concepts, tools, skills, and experiences pertaining to applying technology to professional contexts to achieve a wide scale of instructional goals. Specifically, the course focuses on computer productivity tools (e.g., MS Office, Google Docs); multimedia design and production (e.g., digital video storytelling, interactive presentations); web-based research and communication (e.g., open & academic database) and educational software combined with interactive media environments. Additionally, students will have the opportunity to establish digital identity and develop their web presence through platforms such as LinkedIn or personalized ePortfolio. This course has been designed to be a survey course to increase awareness of technology concepts and to provide experiences that facilitate individual thinking, learning, and training.

Introduction to Educational Technology – Student Learning Objectives:

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate appropriate software and hardware solutions for learning and instruction.
  • Manipulate and edit visuals to convey instructional message.
  • Create video-based instructional materials.
  • Understand legal and ethical issues related to the use of technology in the classroom.
  • Demonstrate research skills by using internet resources and academic database.  
  • Explain Universal Design for Learning (UDL) concept and principles for selecting appropriate technology tools to facilitate learning for students with special and/or diverse needs.
  • Apply appropriate instructional technologies to develop higher-order skills and creativity.
  • Develop an ePortfolio platform to promote digital identity and showcase learning accomplishments.