Former Grenfell professor returns to discuss changing education

Cory
Cory Hurley
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David Brodbeck answers questions at the end of his talk titled 'The blog ate my homework' Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2012 as part of Grenfell Campus reunion 2012 activities.

CORNER BROOK — The face of education is changing.

It is starting to look more like the face of a tablet, telephone or laptop in many classrooms throughout the world.

In David Brodbeck's lectures, social media and other advanced technology has been an evolving educational tool since 2006. It began with podcasting lectures and grew into the use of Facebook for study groups and in-class comments through Twitter.

"I am sort of an early adopter of technology, usually to my pocketbook's detriment," the university psychology professor said Wednesday following a session at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University. "I use all this stuff because, frankly, my students already do, so why the hell shouldn't I.

"It helps me interact with them and it is becoming natural for them."

As opposed to a distraction in class, Brodbeck said it stops them from using their phones for texting in class. If it doesn't, he said it only takes kicking one person out to get a point across.

It is also a way for instructors to connect with today's generation of students. However, Brodbeck isn't proclaiming to have had any great insight when he began doing this.

"This wasn't done in a calculating way," said the professor Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. "It was me combining stuff I already like — I like toys and I like my job, if I could play with my toys at work it is even better."

Not only is things like podcasting an asset in the classroom, he said, it also allows anybody to watch and learn from his lectures from the comfort of their own home.

Meanwhile, one of the former Grenfell professor's students, Amanda Dalley, took in his session as part of Grenfell Campus reunion 2012 activities that are underway.

The speech language pathologist now living in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, said social media and technology incorporated into the classroom setting is the way of the future. She said it is following the way the world is changing socially.

"For professors to incorporate that in, they are going to get that interest and relatability to their students," she said.

"They are also not going to lose track of where things are going. It is good for the students, in keeping them interested and related, but it is good for the profs in that they are staying on top of where things are going with the media and socially."

Brodbeck is not the only instructor wanting to implement social media and other platforms into the education system. Natasha Squires, a communications instructor at the College of the North Atlantic, said she still prefers the "chalk and talk" lectures, but has been trying to evolve into the new teaching methods.

She said some students, especially the younger generation, are looking for more use of technology in the classroom.

"It gives you a lot to think about, she said. "I've never been on Twitter, never saw the purpose of it, so I thought that was interesting."

 

 

Organizations: College of the North Atlantic, Algoma University

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK, Sault Ste. Marie, Whitehorse Yukon Territory

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  • David McGrann
    August 13, 2012 - 22:08

    Though I might not completely agree with the verbiage, "GET WITH TIMES" is mostly right instead of wrong. Here in the US, you simply do not go to a college or university without computer knowledge, at least not sucessfully. The stuff that Brodbeck talks about in the article are skills most US children get by the time they get to high school, if not in middle school - that is, by the time they're 12 to 14 years old., Obviously, this can vary considerably from place to place and from family to family. The old line for university professors used to be, "Publish or Perish". Nowadays, it could well be modified into "Go online or go offline".

  • Paul Tilley
    August 13, 2012 - 08:54

    In response to Get with The Times comment In all organizations, people embrace new techniques and new technologies at a varying pace. In the post-secondary education environment in particular, where some faculty are quick to adopt new technologies and where students range in age from 18 to 80, this varying acceptance and incorporation of technology is a good thing. The fact is that some students are comfortable with technology and some are not. Different faculty employing different techniques allows many different learning styles to be accommodated. I work in the public college and I am one of the early adopters. I use (and teach) social media, Smartboards, online tools in the classroom and in the distance environment. I am far from alone. Many of my colleges use these tools as well. Admitted, others may not choose to use such tools but that by no means reflects on their ability to connect with students and create a valuable learning environment and experience. I have yet to meet an educator who is not at least interested in exploring the opportunities of using technology. This requires a concerted internal training effort (such as illustrated in this article) and it is something that I know that the College and the University are working on. Rest assured, I and my colleagues are all committed to one thing – the best possible education for our students. There are many paths to this goal and for the learner that is a good thing. Paul Tilley teaches business at College of the North Atlantic. He and his students can be found on Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, Blogger, Linkedin - to name just a few…

  • Get With Times
    August 09, 2012 - 09:02

    CNA "Communications" instructor prefers chalk and talk, had never seen twitter, etc. How is she preparing students to enter the workforce in 2012 or 2013 when she is using communications practices from 1975? The only job her students will be qualified for is at a Mennonite Colony. She should be using a smartboard and ipad, teaching the students about blogs, podcasts and social media. WARNING STUDENTS: RUN, DO NOT WALK, away from her course if you ever hope to get a job in today's world.

    • Paul Tilley
      August 11, 2012 - 17:34

      Re: Comments of GET WITH THE TIMES: In all organizations, people embrace new techniques and new technologies at a varying pace. In the post-secondary education environment in particular, where some faculty are quick to adopt new technologies and where students range in age from 18 to 80, this varying acceptance and incorporation of technology is a good thing. The fact is that some students are comfortable with technology and some are not. Different faculty employing different techniques allows many different learning styles to be accommodated. I work in the public college and I am one of the early adopters. I use (and teach) social media, use Smart boards, and use other online tools in the classroom and in the distance environment. I am far from alone. Many of my colleges use these tools as well. Admitted, others may not choose to use such tools but that by no means reflects on their ability to connect with students and create a valuable learning environment and experience. As well, I have yet to meet an educator who is not at least interested in exploring the opportunities of using technology. This requires a concerted internal training effort and it is something that I know that the College and the University are working on. Rest assured, I and my colleagues are all committed to one thing – the best possible education for our students. There are many paths to this goal and for the learned that is a good thing. Paul Tilley Clarenville Paul Tilley teaches business at College of the North Atlantic. You can Google him, he can be found on Twitter, Facebook, You Tube, & Blogger...just ti name a few