Instructional technologies (IT) include not only computer-based technologies but more conventional low-tech items such as chalkboards, planned worksheets, and overhead projectors as well. Students appreciate appropriate selection and use of instructional technology, digital or otherwise; their most pointed criticism is of trying to use a digital 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 and evaluate 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: classroom tools, communication between instructors and students, and tools for homework, study, and collaboration outside of class or section. 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. Finally, you will find a checklist of matters to consider when choosing an instructional technology, a brainstorming worksheet, and links to websites where you can learn more.

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