It is appropriate that the first post on our new departmental weblog should be a rationale for using technology as we teach. We are not pollyannish in our view of technology. It can have a dark or, even worse, a useless side. On the other hand Luddites are welcome here though unlikely to show up. If anything, this website recognizes the obnoxious realpolitik of technology: it is a done deal and resistance is futile. That doesn’t mean we adopt tech willynilly. Shouldn’t technology augment what works well for us? If it doesn’t make our teaching life better, then it’s is irrelevant, isn’t it? Yes and yes.
This weblog seeks to broaden your definition of technology so that, like Monsieur Jourdain ,you realize that you have been “speaking” it all your life. What will we write about here?
Would a good chair at work be a technology worth writing about? Yes and our posteriors would be ever grateful to us for that tech knowledge. Would magnetic paper for creating a business card for your students to put on their refrigerator be a worthwhile topic? Maybe, but if that one is too socially intimate, then how about taking a cellphone picture (or even better have students take pictures) of your whiteboard /blackboard after a particularly inspired class then share it. How about a cool writing desk at Levenger’s? Never been to Levenger’s? Please. Go there. A student needs to find an expert quickly? You don’t have the time to help? Send them to Ask Metafilter.
Of course we will address a gamut of digital technologies from free software for your usb drive to the mysterious new world you hear geeks refer to as Web 2.0. Then again maybe all you’re interested in is how use Word more effectively or how to create a marginally more interesting and useful syllabus. So be it. We will write about that as well.
More importantly, this site welcomes you to join in the debate, to become a part of the lively conversation that we hear among our students in Cherry Hall’s corridors that we aren’t always privy to. You can register below with your Western ID and become a working member of the tribe that seeks to enrich his or her teaching, scholarship, and personal learning. Or you can bookmark or subscribe to its feed and follow the never ending tech story that unfolds.
OK, you can swing the champagne bottle now.