Technology in the Classroom

It’s syllabus time again, and I’m revising my graduate-level course, “Using Technology in the Language Arts Classroom,” which I have taught several times in the past. It’s getting close to the end of summer–classes start August 22 at FSU–and I’d like to rework this syllabus a little, in part to keep it fresh but also because we have reworked the curriculum to make this course part of our professional writing certificate program, which means I’ll be addressing two very different audiences. So far, I haven’t done any serious tweaking to the schedule (which I’ve included below the fold), but I can anticipate that I’ll cut a few things.

First, Delicious and Google Reader are no longer available or no longer seem to have a significant place for most online media users, so I’ll likely cut that entire week (I only use Diigo about once a month now and rarely consult my current RSS reader). Scratch, the basic programming tool, didn’t seem terribly effective, and I had a difficult time teasing out any specific pedagogical purpose for it. If people can offer good reasons to keep this material, I will. I’ll almost definitely cut the Nicholas Carr “Google is Making Us Stupid” article. I’ve become completely unconvinced by his arguments. Oh yeah, I’ll drop the Rushkoff, too. I don’t know enough about programming to make a serious argument there, although it might be worth introducing the students to basic HTML and design skills toward the end of the semester.

That leaves at least two weeks to play with and maybe three. I do think a week on information literacy is vital but don’t have any readings that I find helpful. I’m tempted to do at least one week where we reflect on (and critique) the idea of a digital generation, using Siva Vaidhyanathan’s excellent article as a starting point. Beyond that, it would be incredibly helpful to know what tools, ideas, or concepts you might add (or take away) from my course as it is currently constructed. Facebook and Twitter comments or emails are welcome.

Week One: Introduction to English 518

Technology Overview: Blogging, Twitter, and wikis.

Rushkoff, Douglas, “Why Johnny Can’t Program,” Huffington Post, OL.


Week Two: Blogging

Media Tool: Word Press

Watch: Common Craft, “Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English.”

Jenkins, Henry. “Why Heather Can Write,” Technology Review (February 6, 2004). OL.

Tryon, Chuck, “Writing and Citizenship,” Pedagogy 6.1 (Winter 2006): 128-32. LR.

Start your course blog in Word Press and create one Glogster post.


Week Three: Twitter

Media Tool: Twitter

Thompson, Clive, “Brave New World of Digital Intimacy,” New York Times, OL.

Johnson, Steven, “How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live,” Time, OL.

Heffernan, Virginia, “Hashing Things Out, New York Times, OL.

Ito, Mizuko, Living and Learning with New Media, xiii-xx, OL.

boyd, danah, “Teens Don’t Tweet… or Do They?” apophenia, OL.


Week Four: Wikipedia/Wikis

Media tools: Wikipedia, pbWiki

Mackey, Robert, “Wikipedia’s Rapid Reaction to Outburst During Obama’s Speech,” New York Times, OL.

Parry, David. “Wikipedia and the New Curriculum.” Science Progress, February 11, 2008. OL.

Terdiman, Daniel, “Study: Wikipedia as Accurate as Britannica,” CNET News, OL.

Tryon, Chuck, “Wikipedia Discussion Project,” The Chutry Experiment, OL.

Ito, Mizuko, et al, Living and Learning with New Media, Part 1, pp, 19-42, OL.

Workshop: Create a Wiki document


Week Five: RSS Feeds, Social Bookmarking, and Web Research Part I

Media Tools: Delicious, Google Reader, Diigo.

Watch: Common Craft, “Social Bookmarking in Plain English,” YouTube.

Lomas, Cyprien, “7 Things You Should Know about Social Bookmarking,” Educause, OL.

DesRoches, Donna, “Social Bookmarking Offers a New way to Store and Share Web Sites,” School Library Journal, OL.


Week Six: Web Research Part II

Media Tools: Google Search

Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic. July/August 2008, OL.

Sutter, John D., “Google Search Undergoes ‘Most Radical Transformation Ever’,”, OL.


Week Seven: Document Design, Grading Online

Media Tools: Open Office, Google Docs, GradeMark, Zamzar

Watch: Common Craft, “Google Docs in Plain English.”

Houston, Natalie, “Paperless Grading with GradeMark,” ProfHacker, OL.

Workshop: Create a collaborative document using Google Docs



Week Eight: Course Management Systems

Media Tools: Blackboard, Moodle, Weebly.

boyd, danah, “What I Mean when I Say ‘Email is Dead,’” apophenia, OL.

Lane, Lisa, “Toolbox or Trap? Course Management Systems and Pedagogy.”  Educause Quarterly Magazine 31.2 (April-June 2006). OL.

Dabbagh, Nada, “Using a Web-Based CMT to Support Face-to-Face Instruction,” The Technology Source Archives, OL.

Kate Klingensmith, “Using Weebly to Build Your Classroom Website,” OL.

Start a Weebly website.


March 8: Spring Break


Week Nine: Research/Narrative:

Media Tool: Storify

Matthew Ingram, “Storify and the Curatorial Instinct,” OL.

Roland Legrand, “How Storify Helps Integrate Social Streams Into Articles,” OL.

Workshop: Create a Storify posting.

Week Ten: Podcasting and Video

Media Tools: Podcasting, PowerPoint, iMovie, Prezi

Teachers Teaching Teachers, “Radio Rookies Finding Where Their Passions Make Good Stories,” OL.

Tufte, Edward, “PowerPoint is Evil,” Wired 11.09 (2003), OL.

Dietrich, Pat, “Using iMovie to Enhance Learning,” OL.

Christi, Alice, et al, “Language Arts Comes Alive as Middle School Learners Become Information Producers,” Meridian, OL.

Workshop: Make a short Prezi


Week Eleven: Branding Education

Media Tool: Facebook

Oppenheimer, Eilsabeth, “Citizens of Farmville,” The Future of the Internet Blog, OL.

Singel, Ryan, “Rogue Marketers Can Mine Your Info on Facebook,”, OL.

Raynes-Goldie, Kate, “Aliases, Creeping, and Wall-Cleaning,” First Monday 15.1 (January 2010), OL.

Parry, David, “The iPad and Higher Education,” OL.


Week Twelve: Animation

Media Tool: Scratch

Maloney, John, et al, “The Scratch Programming Language and Environment,” ACM Transactions on Computing Education (2010), OL.

Resnick, Mitchel, et al, “Scratch: Programming for All,” Communications of the ACM (2009), OL.

Workshop: Make a short Scratch Program


Week Thirteen: Google Maps

Media Tool: Google Maps

Grover, Shuchi, “Map Your World: Google Maps in the Classroom,” OL.

Kreutz, Christian, “Maptivism: Maps for Activism, Transparency, and Engagement,” OL.

Castiglione, Chris, “Using Google Maps,” OL.

Complete iMovie or Narrated PowerPoint


Week Fourteen: Wireless/Mobile

Media Tools: iPod Touch

Fang, Berlin, “From Distraction to Engagement: Wireless Devices in the Classroom,” Educause Quarterly, OL.

Quillen, Ian, “Educators Evaluate Learning Benefits of iPad,” Education Week, OL.



Week Fifteen: New Directions

Reid, Alex. “Welcome to Badge World,” Digital Digs, OL.

Present your “Big Project” to the class.





  1. Chuck Said,

    July 31, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

    Note: I probably should spend a little time addressing cyberbullying and other related issues, perhaps. I’ve had several good suggestions on Facebook and Twitter that I’ll try to share later.

  2. Laura Said,

    August 1, 2013 @ 6:41 am

    I understand not keeping Scratch, but it is online now, so it makes it a bit easier to incorporate. What I’ve seen people do with it in a Language Arts context is to make presentations or stories/animations. So you could have them animate a fairy tale or a novel (5 minute Scarlet Letter or something). You might do Prezi or iMovie before that so they see the “simple” way of doing that and then go to Scratch to see how to create similar logic programmatically.

    For Cyberbullying, you might consider reading Emily Bazelon. She has a book, but she’s written a lot about it on Slate.

    You might also consider doing something with Minecraft, which has been creeping its way into K-12 curriculums across disciplines for a couple of years. There is Minecraft EDU, which you could look at.

    What about gaming more generally? It might be worth reading or looking at some articles on games in education.

    Just some thoughts. If I can help at all, feel free to email.

  3. Chuck Said,

    August 1, 2013 @ 7:43 am

    That’s a good idea for Scratch. I’m definitely doing Prezi, even if it isn’t clearly listed. I did discuss gaming in some versions of the course, so that’s a thought.

    I’ll have to spend a little time with Minecraft, too.

  4. Chris McConnell Said,

    August 5, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

    I wondered if you saw that recent Pew report on technology in K12 classrooms. It had a particular emphasis on language arts.

    Since I’m now doing digital-inclusion research, I wonder if it would be useful to have a segment specifically about issues of cultural/informational capital and how technology can often exclude already marginalized groups.

  5. Chuck Said,

    August 6, 2013 @ 7:35 am

    I think that’s a good idea, Chris. Many of my students are already experienced teachers, so they may have some awareness of this, but I think I do need more material that thinks critically about technology and marginalized groups.

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