Over the past year, I have experimented with several technology tools with the goal of increasing student engagement and active learning in my on the ground classes. These have included Prezi, creating YouTube videos, and VoiceThread, with VoiceThread being the main focus this past year. I have also been using Poll Everywhere in the classroom as a method of assessing student learning of key concepts, as well as providing students with feedback regarding their grasp and retention of material. Additionally, I have used the iPad with the Smartboard in the classroom to present apps appropriate for therapeutic interventions. Outside of the classroom, the OT faculty have begun using OneDrive for working on collaborative research projects.
I implemented VoiceThread in my pediatric courses OTH 622 in both the fall and spring semesters. I used this mostly to upload video clips of children at various stages of development, requiring the students to identify developmental patterns and therapeutic interventions to further support a child’s growth.
I am incorporating Poll Everywhere in all my courses as a means of receiving and providing feedback on student learning. Additionally, in one of my classes students were required to develop a short educational You Tube for parents or teachers.
My biggest challenge with VoiceThread was learning that you tube videos could not be uploaded on VoiceThread. As a result, I was challenged with finding appropriate videos from friends with young children. Another challenge was helping the students with the process of signing up for and using VoiceThread. Once that challenge was resolved, students reported the VoiceThreads were beneficial. Since I have 40 students per class, once I discovered how to put the students into small groups (10 per group), the learning was more effective and the process much more efficient. Poll Everywhere was a success from the beginning with positive feedback from the majority of students.
At the end of the fall semester, the students completed a survey regarding the use of Poll Everywhere, VoiceThread, and creating an educational YouTube video for caregivers. Students were very positive about Poll Everywhere. VoiceThread received mixed reviews due to difficulty signing up and accessing the videos, but commented that it was beneficial to their learning. Creating a YouTube video, though reported as a valuable learning experience by many, was cited as too difficult and cumbersome to use. Students reported spending more time on the technology than on the content, which for me defeated the purpose of the assignment. I plan to re-assess the use of technology tools at the end of each semester.
Perceived/Determined Value and Next Steps
What was most valuable for me during this first year of the Technology Fellows Program was the opportunity to take the time to learn new technologies as well as to learn from other members of the group throughout the year. Additionally, the patient ongoing support from both Becky and Lauren is what made it possible for me to experiment…get “stuck”….and get support rather than giving up! In the next year, I plan to continue exploring effective ways to incorporate VoiceThread in the classroom, as well as begin working on developing telehealth with a free clinic in Ecuador.