People’s first thoughts about instructional technology (IT) usually involve computer-based technologies. Other tools continue to have value, however, and the availability of a sophisticated electronic tool does not obviate the usefulness of such low-tech items as chalkboards, well planned worksheets, and overhead projectors. Students appreciate appropriate selection and use of instructional technology, digital or otherwise; their most pointed criticism is of trying to use a computer-based tool that an instructor is not sufficiently skilled with.

Effectiveness within an instructional context, not technological sophistication, is the key. For example, while a multimedia presentation using PowerPoint or Keynote with embedded audio and video can engage students intensely around a topic, there are times when the best vehicle to get an essential conceptual point across is a simple diagram on the chalkboard. GSIs must experiment a bit and decide when visuals or other electronic resources are useful for the discipline, the content, and the way they want students to use what they learn.

This section of the Teaching Guide addresses different forms of technology as they relate to different sites of instruction: communication between instructors and students, classroom tools, and tools for homework, study, and collaboration outside of class or section. You will also find a checklist of matters to consider when choosing an instructional technology, a brainstorming worksheet, and links to websites where you can learn more. Finally, the section addresses a number of practical concerns that have arisen on campus about web-based tools (such as blog sites and social networking sites) hosted outside UC Berkeley.

For additional guidance on applying instructional technology to maximize learning, contact the GSI Teaching & Resource Center. To learn how to use the instructional technologies and the breadth of their functionality, check out Educational Technology Services.

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