3Ts: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology and Transliteracy
Fulton-Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY
March 25, 2011

As budgets continue to shrink and the number of online or blended classes continues to grow, the need for instructors who are comfortable with the wide array of digital learning tools becomes of paramount importance. From the writings of Donald E. Hanna and associates1, we are reminded that “the challenge is not simply to incorporate learning technologies into current institutional approaches, but rather to change our fundamental views about effective teaching and learning and to use technology to do so.” Keeping this in mind, the 3 T’s conference aims to explore issues surrounding the intersections between teaching, instructional technologies and the growing number of literacies all students need for learning and succeeding in today’s information-rich academic and professional worlds.

1. Hanna, Donald E. Associates, Higher Education in an Era of Digital Competition: Choices and Challenges, Atwood Publishing, 2000, p.61.

As one of the primary goals of the 3Ts planning committee, we are offering a discounted “buddy” registration fee to encourage cross-disciplinary discussion among our participants.

What constitutes a “buddy”? Buddies are created by a pair of attendees (registering at the same time) who are complementary and/or collaborating professionals (i.e., teaching faculty and a librarian, a librarian and an instructional designer, two teaching faculty from different disciplines).

SUNY Registration Fee $20.00; Non-SUNY Registration Fee $30.00
SUNY Buddy Registration Fee $15.00; Non-SUNY Buddy Registration Fee $25.00

What is Transliteracy? For conference information visit:
http://threetees.weebly.com

Co-Sponsored by SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL)
SUNY Center for Professional Development
SUNY Faculty Advisory Council on Teaching & Technology (FACT2)

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Are you interested in teaching, technology and transliteracy?

Do you use your students’ fluency across media, modes, and disciplines to their and your advantage?

Are you using technology to extend learning in the classroom (physical or virtual)?

Are you experienced in successfully blending technology into your teaching?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, the conference planning committee for The 3 T’s: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy wants YOU to consider submitting a proposal (now closed).

Co-sponsored by SUNY FACT2 and the SUNY Librarians Association Working Group for Information Literacy (SUNYLA WGIL), The 3 T’s: Exploring New Frontiers in Teaching, Technology, and Transliteracy is a one-day conference focused on placing pedagogical theory at the foundation of seamless, engaging and productive teaching practice when infusing various technologies into the classroom experience. Educators, Faculty, Instructional Designers, and Librarians hailing from K-12 and higher education institutions will gather in Johnstown, NY at Fulton-Montgomery Community College on March 25, 2011 to share their successes, challenges and overall understanding of the theory to practice connection.

Don’t miss out on your chance to spotlight your classroom ingenuity and achievements!

Proposals should address the following questions:

  • How have you drawn upon student transliteracy to support learning?
  • How have underlying principles and theories guided your inclusion of a specific technology or technologies in the classroom?
  • How did teaching and technology work collaboratively to improve both technological literacy and learning?

As proposals undergo a peer-reviewed process, emphasis on the following are highly encouraged:

  • Connecting theory to practice as discussed and modeled through your presentation delivery
  • Collaborative projects/lesson plans that could include (but are not limited to) cross-disciplinary teaching, faculty/librarian partnerships, K-12/college experiences

Proposals can include any meaningful integration of technology and teaching used to support the growing number of literacies students need for learning and succeeding in today’s information-rich academic and professional worlds.  Possible tracks and technologies might include:

Literacies Technologies
  • Information literacy
  • Visual literacy
  • Digital literacy
  • Media literacy
  • Cultural literacy
  • Critical literacy
  • Open Source Technologies
  • Web 2.0 Technology
  • Social Networking (Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Ning)
  • Mobile Technology (Mobile apps, texting)
  • Classroom Technologies (Smartboards)
  • Collaborative Technology (Wikis)
  • Multimedia (Podcasts, Vcasts)

Conference sessions will consist of 30 minutes speaking/workshop time with 15 minutes allocated for Q&A.

The deadline for proposals has passed.

Presenters will be notified by November 15, 2010 if their proposal has been accepted.

Presenters will receive free registration for the conference and will have the opportunity to publish their work in the conference’s online proceedings.

For further questions, contact:

Kim Davies-Hoffman
Reference/Instruction Librarian
SUNY Geneseo
kdhoffman@geneseo.edu
(585) 245-5046 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (585) 245-5046      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (585) 245-5046      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

Here we go again!  Another summer, another exciting RYSAG camp!  We are just a week and two days away from counselor orientation and then on Monday, July 19, about 60 middle and high school students from the Rochester City School District (RCSD) will descend upon SUNY Geneseo‘s campus.  This is the time of the summer when my organizational efforts really hit mach speed.

Thanks to the diligence and consciensciousness of one of our outstanding counselors, currently home for the summer and away from the hustle and bustle of confirming plans for the camp organization and storyline, I’ve been (positively) pushed to focus on finalizing schedules and google docs so that everyone involved will have the necessary information before arriving on campus.  Last night, I spent time refining the camp storyline in a google doc, adding notes from a previous meeting with the Camp Director as well as new ideas developed in a recent meeting with the camp’s faculty planning group.

Potential volunteer interviewees (faculty and staff from all different academic disciplines) have been contacted and most have responded with their availability to meet with our students to discuss personal experiences with conflict, difference and/or adaptation.  One more reminder should hopefully push the lagging interviewees along.  The hope is to have a nearly finalized interview schedule before our Monday (7/12) meeting with all camp volunteers.  At this meeting, everyone will be informed of the general camp plan, goals and expectations, putting us all on the same page.  We arranged for a similar meeting two years ago and that really helped for a smooth transition into the camp’s “theater.”

This year’s camp, whose theme focuses on peacekeeping and conflict negotiation, should be interesting with two teams consisting of brand new (to RYSAG) RCSD students entering seventh and eighth grades in the fall.  For the past two years, we’ve seen a lot of repeat students, many of whom have participated in every camp experience since the 2007 inception.  Our numbers for four-peaters are dwindling but we have still retained nine of the original RYSAG CSI candidates.  Understandable considering these students are likely to be entering the tenth grade this fall, where scholastic expectations and requirements are heightened and students are now at an age where they can begin working full-time summer jobs.

Our four-peaters, and even a handful of three-peaters, form one of our four camp teams and serve as CITs – counselors-in-training – where leadership skills and roles are stressed, placing the students in good stead for future counselor positions.  How amazing will it be if/when these students return in their pre-senior and even post-senior/college summers to assist with the running of the camp!!!!  Our first introduction to these students was when they were entering seventh grade!  How quickly time passes.

But I digress . . . the reasoning behind the title of this post refers to a recent SUNYLA conference presentation I offered.  I had two main reasons for developing the presentation.  First, to highlight the amazing RYSAG camp experience, which I’ve been wanting to boast about for a few years now.  The second reason was to encourage librarians, especially those new to the field, to identify their strengths and interests – both personal and professional – and promote them by joining campus projects and committees where librarian talents are seriously needed.

The strengths and interests I identified within myself at the presentation include:

  • organizational skills, especially where logic and scheduling are involved
  • technological knowledge and ability to make practical use of technological tools to bring people together
  • creativity
  • risk taking
  • pedagogical knowledge
  • team player, wanting to bring people together in meaningful and fun ways
  • mediator, using my contacts and knowledge among various academic departments

All of these attributes have come in handy when putting together the RYSAG camp infrastructure.  From creating rotating schedules for campers, instructors, counselors and interviewees to using a variety of social networking tools for the good of document and idea sharing (i.e., google docs, wikis, blogs), camper communication and training (i.e., gmail accounts, blogs, Truveo multimedia searching, interactive web scavenger hunt), and tracking volunteers’ availability (i.e., Doodle) to suggesting key players to the camp storyline based on a wide range of contacts in different departments due to library instruction efforts and other campus-wide committee participation.

As mentioned in the SUNYLA presentation, while I am well aware of the amazing skills and special talents librarians bring to the table, especially in campus-wide forums, I become downright giddy when I hear of stories where librarians lead the faculty/staff pack and offer a sense of unity, focus, organization, creativity and expertise.  It is these stories that remind me what a valuable service we provide to the campus community.

And again, I encourage all librarians to realize the unique attributes they have to offer, to get involved in campus projects and to promote the good that our librarian superpowers can foster.

It’s interesting (and sad) how I seem to post entries on this blog about once a year.  I can hardly call myself a blogger.  😦  But once again, I will try to spur myself on to remain committed to posting.

The writers group meeting that I just attended will hopefully help toward keeping myself disciplined.  A small group of like-minded and equally busy librarians will try to build in some accountability among us so that we can all achieve our goals of slowly but surely producing good pieces of writing – for professional purposes mainly, but perhaps some creative writing will seep into our efforts.  That would be a big plus for me!

So, one of my three goals before next week’s meeting is to publish a blog post (after almost a year’s hiatus).  Here I am!

I can’t explain why I don’t add to this blog more frequently.  The original goal was to write short pieces that track my daily/weekly activities working collaboratively with classroom faculty, mostly in terms of teaching.  That should be an easy and enjoyable task.  And I certainly have lots that I can add.  But as usual, I think I build these tasks up in my mind so that they soon become so insurmountable, that I give up entirely rather than contributing just a little.  Such is the story of my life!

As I have done in the past, here are a few topics on my mind that I hope to write about in the near future.

  • The disappointment over an Anthropology course that E.K. and I had big plans for that was recently cancelled due to low enrollment
  • A growing working relationship with the new chair of our ANTH Dept, including course and assignment development, teaching and the purchase of new books
  • Helping the ANTH Dept with assessment endeavors related to information literacy which has lead to new faculty interest in greater teaching collaborations
  • Working with J.A. toward his plans for an interdisciplinary food project
  • A recent conference presentation that highlighted the teaching collaboration between C.R. and me
  • With C.R. moving to a new institution, plans to continue our collaboration for future presentations and publications
  • Forging new relationships and collaborative projects with faculty in the Foreign Languages
  • Working with E.K. to finally write articles on our work over the past few years
  • The newest RYSAG camp – preparations for and implementation during the last two weeks of July
  • Plans toward a COCID/SUNY CPD sponsored conference that will encourage collaborative presentations between classroom faculty and librarians
  • Participation on and activities toward our library’s new Scholarly Communications Team

And the list goes on . . . Wow, I guess I better start writing!  🙂

While not strictly tied to collaborative teaching efforts, a recent planning session with my Collection Development colleague for a staff retreat focused on faculty outreach has prompted me to brainstorm the many ways in which I connect with professors.  I wrote them all down so as not to forget, but at tomorrow’s retreat, all of the librarians will brainstorm their own ways of collaborating.  We are sure to generate a long and very rich list.

Following are the thoughts that I’ve come up with.  I will try to combine similar activities so that this list doesn’t become too cumbersome.

Instructional efforts

  • Successful teaching collaborations (Anthropology, First-year Writing Seminar, Foreign Languages, Political Science, Psychology, RYSAG, Sociology) have led other professors to engage in similar instructional efforts
  • Successful teaching collaborations have led to greater opportunities for myself and for those with whom I teach (i.e., RYSAG)
  • Conference presentations incorporating librarian and professor (and sometimes student representatives) have led to faculty interest in similar teaching collaborations, at SUNY Geneseo and elsewhere
  • Attendance and participation at departmental meetings helps initiate interest in what librarians can do for professors in the classroom and for students outside of the classroom (i.e., research consultations)
  • Attempts at establishing formal librarian-professor meetings or get-togethers (i.e., Librarian-Faculty Learning Community)
  • Assisting professors with their curricular material that have a focus on information literacy skills (i.e., proofreading a student survey centered on issues of plagiarism)
  • Providing introductions of what the library instruction staff can do for various campus groups (i.e., new faculty, First-Year Writing Seminar professors, teaching assistants)
  • Writing short newsletter articles for campus publications on different instructional projects in which librarians are involved
  • Engaging in campus-wide activities that focus on pedagogy (i.e., Teaching and Learning Center workshops)
  • Involvement in teaching activities that expand beyond the library (i.e., RYSAG) has allowed me to make connections across campus and outside of the academic environment (i.e., high school teachers)
  • E-mail contact with professors to suggest one-shot classroom instruction over individual research consultations for every student in a course or to clarify tricky questions that a professor has added to a research assignment
  • Working on professional development opportunities that incorporate librarians (and teachers) from all different educational settings

Collection building

  • Meetings that involve collection development librarian, subject specialty librarian, department chair and departmental representative to the library to discuss such things as budget allocations, electronic resources suitable for the subject discipline in question and subject areas covered through print resources
  • Making personal recommendations for sources to professors based on what I know of their research and curricular interests
  • Assisting with suggestions for course texts
  • Writing short newsletter articles for campus publications on issues of weeding, purchasing, new collection initiatives, etc.
  • Advertising and administering regional access cards so professors can borrow from local college/library collections
  • Inviting professors to provide input and/or train in orientations to various electronic resources

Faculty research

  • Answering reference questions for faculty, whether in person, on the phone, via e-mail, etc.
  • Offering research consultations to faculty members; not just to students
  • Meeting professors and their research assistants to provide instruction on various tools as well as strategies for tackling the necessary research question/project
  • Providing instruction for student research can many times lead to professors learning of new strategies and resources for their own research
  • Informal conversations can lead to new ideas for faculty research endeavors

Campus-wide engagement

  • Involving oneself in College Senate
  • Choosing relevant Senate subcommittees in which to participate
  • Chairing a Senate subcommittee
  • Running for/serving on other campus-wide committee participation
  • Working on library committees that demand a teaching faculty representative
  • Attending campus functions

Finally, I think that not enough can be said for informal, social interactions with faculty colleagues, on or off-campus.  These serendipitous connections can truly lead to great things, the very least being a newly formed friendship.

I am anxious to hear of other ways that my local colleagues interact with professors and would certainly like to extend the conversation to anyone else reading this blog.  How do you most frequently connect with faculty on campus/at school?

Wow,  7 months have past since my last post.  I need to get better at this blogging thing.  I keep telling myself . . .  just a short paragraph a day will keep this blog alive.  The unfortunate (or fortunate, based on how you look at it) thing is that once I start writing, I can’t stop, so to me, there is no such thing as a short paragraph.  🙂

I’ve been busy though.  The most recent time-consuming activity has been the third RYSAG summer camp.  Once again, it was a success, although there was doubt at the beginning.  Would the students be interested in “saving the environment”?  Was the topic “sexy” enough for them?  In the end, the students came to campus already aware of and concerned with issues of global warming and the need to change the way we all treat the environment.  While there was no real element of discovery or suspicion, as there was in the last two camps, and students didn’t seem super motivated in class, the final presentations impressed us all, as they have always done.

The typical subject collaborations existed as they have in the past – science/chemistry, math, research, public speaking/communication and technology.  In addition, we invited a few “green experts” from campus to each teach one day on their specialized topic.  An Anthropology professor took students back 1000’s of years to introduce the idea of those people’s “waste,” to make the point of how much that waste has grown into modern times.  She had students calculate their individual carbon footprint. Two Geology professors discussed water runoff and global warming/climate change, respectively. A History professor introduced students to the campus’ community garden and talked about sustainable agriculture, including the creation of  compost piles.  Finally, a Chemistry professor engaged our students in the harnessing of solar power based on blueberries as a source of energy.

Small student groups within each of our four camp teams were assigned to particular interviewees that would lend their perspective on sustainability issues and efforts.  Interviewees ranged from the middle-aged curmudgeon professor who’s only motivation to recycle was to recoup 5 cents from each plastic bottle returned to the sports enthusiast Geneseo alum who didn’t care how the new stadium was designed as long as he could attend his favorite sports events to administrative officials of our campus food service who introduced students to the idea of biodegradable cups and other “plastic ware” and the push to purchase food from local farmers.  Additionally, students designed 8-question surveys that they administered to anyone on campus that would take the survey.  All of these ideas and data were incorporated into each team’s final presentation – a formal plea to college administration to “green-up” our future athletic stadium by implementing the suggestions made by our students.  As mentioned above, the delivery, data and teamwork employed in each presentation was incredibly impressive.  Our youngest team consisted of 15 11-year olds (incoming sixth graders) and they did a fantastic job!

The ppt presentations will be loaded to the GREEN-UP camp website soon, but in the meantime, enjoy the public service announcements that our students created while on campus (found on the right hand page of the GREEN-UP webpage).

It is very fortunate that my good friend Lisa just responded to an old blog post from last semester. It has been a full semester since I last contributed to this blog. Yikes! Coincidentally, as I am working from home this morning, I did have visions of jumping back into my blog to fill in all the gaps from last semester to this semester. Lisa’s comment was just a reminder that I better get writing.

So, where to begin?

ANTH 216: African Diaspora – This was a class where I worked very closely with the new Department Chair in Anthropology. We began our planning toward the end of the summer, examining her previous syllabus and adding mini research assignments and library sessions where appropriate. RM likes to structure her courses with lots of student discussion. A typical assignment is the student-led discussion. Students are arranged in groups at the beginning of the semester and then as the weeks pass, they are responsible on a certain date for creating an interactive conversation with their classmates on a designated topic.

Topics last semester included the comparison/contrast of Mardi Gras to Carnaval; the history of Haiti; problems facing contemporary Haiti; migration and adaptation from the African Diaspora to US and Canadian cities like Miami, NY, Boston, and Montreal; reaction to the film Lumumba; African/Carribean religions as they are practiced in the US; and nationalism promoted in music.

While it was required that every group meet with me a week prior to their student-led discussion, not only for help with research but also in preparation of making the discussion interactive and lively, I didn’t see every group. I had great conversations with many of the students about how to plan the presentation, but in the end, my ideas for interaction may have intimidated them. Time and time again, no matter what we had discussed as a group, the students ended up talking from a powerpoint presentation with a few discussion questions thrown in. The unfortunate part of this is that the technology in the room we were assigned was not very strong or reliable. Students consistently struggled with the seamless flow of ppt to video and sound. Frustrating for everyone involved.

The ONLY group that took me up on my advice was a set of 4 ladies who were assigned a discussion on the film, Lumumba. They had no idea how to design their presentation. I was thinking “critic’s corner” as they came to see me with two variations. 1) half of the class would discuss all the positive attributes of the film while the other half would pan it and 2) the class would be split into 4 groups, each discussing the film from a certain perspective – Patrice Lumumba (the main character/freedom fighter), the film’s director, the Conglese (for whom Lumumba was fighting), and the Belgians (against whom Lumumba was fighting). Each group would have to examine whether or not they thought the film portrayed them satisfactorily. This second option is the one that the group chose. It worked beautifully! The designated date occurred right after Fall Break, so the students had the great idea to first show a video clip that would recapture the essence of the film and reacquaint classmates with what they had seen a week prior. They then divided students into groups, with each of the 4 ladies leading a group. They had definitely done their homework, looking into the background of the film, the history and critiques of the movie. They were able to share this new information with the newly formed “critic” groups. Many times, the added facts and opinions influenced the students’ understanding of the film. The plan was simple, the pressure of “performing” was taken off of the 4 ladies in question, and the class, as a whole, had the most animated conversation that I had been witness to. Further comments on the class’ LMS page proved how effective the strategy and lesson plan was. Everyone remarked on the simplicity of the plan and the overall positive outcome.

YET . . . all groups to follow this presentation reverted back to ppt. *sigh* One group literally questioned my suggestions for incorporating hands-on activities/discussion, claiming that they “weren’t in 3rd grade.” To that, I said that while the method of interaction seemed juvenile, the topic of discussion was not. Unfortunately, that group’s discussion happened the day before Thanksgiving break so I never was able to see what they ended up doing.

Other than the student-led discussion, I involved students in mini-research assignments, mainly to equip everyone for the content of discussion in class throughout the semester. It became obvious to me that to help the leaders of the student discussions/presentations get their classmates talking, everyone in class needed to come prepared with some information on the topic. For instance, one assigned presentation focused on the migration and adaptation of Haitians to US and Canadian cities. The homework that I assigned to students after a brief presentation on researching news stories in LexisNexis, was to find a related article. I divided the students up by US/Canadian city, making sure that there would be a variety of perspectives and experiences represented during the student-led discussion. Students turned their annotated citations into me via LMS (Angel on our campus), with a deadline set just before that student-led discussion took place.

Other research assignments (all in the form of annotated citations) included making comparisons/contrasts between a scholarly and a popular film review; finding a scholarly/educational video or sound clip on African-based religion; finding a CD or a single song that highlighted nationalism; and the study of a particular cultural group through eHRAF.

While the collaboration between RM and myself seemed successful, we have yet to make plans for this semester. It very well could be that we’re both slightly burned out from the fall session or that our preparations this semester will be more impromptu in the coming months. I’m sure that it’s a combination of both. We have discussed putting a limit on the use of powerpoint during student-led discussions (some use is okay but students cannot rely solely on ppt) and brainstorming with the students interactive assignments in which they have been engaged in other classes. Once we come up with a good list of options, students will be able to choose from these in an effort to liven their presentations. But, I’m still waiting to hear from RM . . .

It appears that I had much more to write than I originally thought, so other updates from the Fall semester will have to wait until my next post. Things I will write about include: