My primary objective was to enhance and improve my teaching with technology, and to be able to share whatever I learned with the MFA faculty. Secondary objectives were to learn to use Prezi to create more vibrant presentations both to promote the MFA program and to utilize in our hybrid classes.
I wanted to be able to respond more fully to student work. I read a lot of papers and usually comment on them in written format. Sometimes I use “track changes,” but I sense students just glaze over those. I wanted to find a technology that would allow me to respond orally to their pieces. I also wanted something very easy to use. I wanted to be able to record my comments, save them, and email them to the student or make them available via dropbox.
I reviewed five or six technologies over the course of several months that allow you to record comments. I found the one that was best for my purposes is called Voice Memo. It is extremely easy to use; you simply press a button; and allows you to record quite a bit. There are apps available for cell phones as well as iPads. You can mail directly to student when you are done or save somewhere like Dropbox.
I also worked on my secondary technology, Prezi, at this time, over a period of several months to create two presentations.
In Spring of 2014 I used Voice Memo in lieu of written comments to respond to students drafts in my graduate level Nature Writing course. The students loved it, and I got lots of positive comments from them. I also developed a Prezi to use in the Virtual MFA Open Houses, and another one to use on a stand-alone lecture on the Lyric Essay, which I used at a recent literary festival in Mississippi where I was invited to do a Master Class on the Lyric Essay.
I received positive comments from students in my class and I felt positive about using Voice Memo. I found that I was able to say more in 5-7 minutes, than I could write in that same time period, and I was able to present critiques in a more friendly way so that students’ next drafts seemed much improved. I could tell they were listening very carefully to my comments.
My Prezis were also quite successful both at our Open House and at the literary festival in Mississippi on the Lyric Essay.
I will continue to use Voice Memo in all of my classes, and encourage my faculty to use them. I am much more comfortable with Prezi now, and can design courses and help faculty design courses using this technology.