Mark Frydenberg, Bentley College
PBwiki and Camtasia – Changing the Way I Teach
College students today live in a world filled with social media and interactive technology. In my Technology Intensive IT 101 class at Bentley College, the question for me isnâ€™t how do I teach students about new technologiesâ€“ but rather, how do I teach with them?
Two software tools that have had the greatest impact on the way that I teach this course these days are PBWiki and Camtasia Studio. Both invite students to become involved in the process of creating course content, and sharing their knowledge with their classmates.
So how has PBWiki changed the way that I teach?
Syllabus accurately reflects class pace
The PDF file of the course schedule that I posted on BlackBoard before the first class was always â€œoff-scheduleâ€? by the third. On a wiki, the course schedule becomes a living document that I can easily update if we end up spending more or less time than anticipated on a topic. In addition, a 30Boxes calendar posted on the front page of my PBWiki tracks homework due dates, exam dates, and other special happenings.
In addition to administrative uses, the power of the wiki as a course management tool comes when students add information to it. They post links to Internet sites and sightings; they share links to their web pages, blogs, and Twitter accounts. They use the wiki to sign up for group projects and collaborate with their partners.
Shared Class Notes
This semester I started using the class wiki for a collaborative note taking project. Two or three students are assigned to post their notes for a particular class session on a wiki page. Their classmates review the notes, adding in anything they learned that the two starting authors may have omitted. Together, the students are writing the text that reflects what they actually learned (not what I taught!) in each class session. If I feel that something important is missing from the notes, either Iâ€™ll go back and add it, or more likely, weâ€™ll talk about it in the next class, and undoubtedly a student will have made the appropriate updates.
Students as active participants
Recently I reviewed Camtasia Studio 5, and created a screencast about how I use PBwiki for my class wiki. Watching screencasts that demonstrate procedural tasks (such as talking students through the process of setting up an FTP account, or adding an image or button to a web site) has been an effective way for students to master those tasks. Many say that when they are first learning, it is easier to follow a screencast than read a set of printed instructions. The number of students asking â€œCan you show me again how you did that?â€? has been greatly reduced.
Incorporating Camtasia and PBWiki into my classroom has allowed students to become teachers outside the classroom, as they are active participants not only in their own learning, but also in that of the entire class.
Want a guided tour of my wiki? Watch this Camtasia screencast.