WAKE-UP! HOW I LEARNED TO USE AND SHARE TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES AND PROGRAMS WITH STUDENTS...WHAT I DIDN'T KNOW WAS ONLINE CLASSES COULD BE A COMMUNICATION NIGHTMARE...I LEARNED BENEFITS OUT-WEIGH COSTS
The mindset for me as an instructor who did not grow-up with technology was based on my lack of knowledge and, in part, on the admonitions from my parents related to mechanical things. My childhood experiences with simple machines were based on fear at home. My parents instilled a fear in me that every machine will break. My siblings and I proved that children break them easily. And, as I was a child at the time, I would surely break any machine I touched. Money was tight in our busy household where both of my parents were working to keep food on the table and shoes on our feet. We didn't have extra cash set aside to repair the furnace or television if one of us seven children should fiddle with the controls and accidentally break them. There was a strict “hands-off” technology policy at home. Only adults were allowed to change or adjust the settings on mechanical objects. Despite these vexing reminders from childhood and limited exposure and experience engaging with distance learning, I accepted a position teaching literacy courses in a predominantly online format. I came face-to-face with what Cummins, Brown, and Sayers (2007) explore in their book, Literacy, Technology, and Diversity: Teaching for Success in Changing Times. This paper will explore how the quality of online literacy instruction is improved through the use of three common technologies. Learning to use and share three specific technology resources has taken me on an unbeaten path of program discovery and course transformation and forced me into Using the Internet for Active Teaching and Learning as Mills (2006) writes in his theoretical and practical guide for teachers. This paper is essentially a case study of my fully live literacy course and how it was adapted to the Blackboard learning landscape while trying to maintain the integrity and depth of literacy learning. This discovery-based learning process for me, now a paper, is a cursory exploration of recorded PowerPoint programs, Blackboard communication interactions, and Camtasia Studio Recording and Video Editing Software. The integration of technology in my classes allowed me to evaluate student attainment of technology skills and knowledge of literacy instruction (Ruetzel and Cooter, 2012). I will discuss four different aspects related to moving a fully live course to an online format and explain why and how a technology-based communication learning environment can support literacy learning and general academic achievement through course design and teaching (Thormann and Zimmerman, 2012). First, decisions need to be made regarding course design and how materials should be shared and how and when they will be shared with students. Second, all methods, models for learning, and materials (the purpose and function of artifacts) need to be fully explained in detail and connected directly to course assignments. Third, opportunities for submitting, responding to, resubmitting assignments, and evaluating work needs to be addressed. Fourth, classes attract a diverse array of students who need, and benefit from, opportunities to participate in online learning community discussions of course materials and content. Early concern with online courses focused on depersonalization and objectification of students and instructors; however, these issues have not borne out, but are factors for consideration. Finally, the print and electronic data shared represent a multimodal approach to literacy learning.