Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Teaching Teachers About Technology

This month, college educators are uniting at the University of Iowa to discuss the digital classroom, as well as teaching others how to use the powerful tools of the 21st century. On February 23, 2013, “Rewiring the Classroom,”a forum on digital practices and philosophies for the college classroom, will take place at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and will be centered around the Main Library. The closing date for registration is February 18.

“Rewiring the Classroom” is a day-long symposium that will focus on critical applications of digital technologies in undergraduate classrooms, and will also give practical, hands-on learning opportunities with new technologies. This conference is intended for anyone interested in creative and critical applications of technology to undergraduate education, including professors, graduate instructors, librarians, information technologists, and other curious individuals. Persons who are new to the use of digital technologies in their classrooms are especially encouraged to attend.

Topics will include software such as WordPress, Wikipedia, and Omeka, along with discussions about the use of recorded sound, public engagement, and geographical information systems. Presenters will also discuss bringing research and archives into the classroom. 

Presenters include visitors from Carleton, Augustana, and Monmouth Colleges

Information for all the workshops, presenters and roundtables is located on the website ( Presenters include faculty and graduate students from the University of Iowa, along with guests from Carleton College, Augustana College, and Monmouth College. “Rewiring the Classroom” is organized by this year's UI HASTAC Scholars: Craig Carey (Department of English), Audrey Altman (School of Library & Information Science), and Yvonne Seale (History). It is sponsored by a variety of programs and departments across the university, including the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, the Digital Studio for Public Humanities, and the Center for Teaching

Having seen many of the issues facing graduate students and professors – What tools are available? How easy are they to learn and implement? – the three student organizers wanted to create a more practical approach to these questions. Carey said, "Rather than doing so with formal talks or theoretical presentations, our goal is to foster a workshop environment where people can see the technologies in action, and hopefully leave with some practical ideas and introductory skills that they can implement on their own." 

Seale was enthusiastic about her involvement with the conference, stating, "I'm excited to help plan this conference because I think it's a natural outgrowth of my work as a historian. Historians strive to make their scholarship and teaching active, centered on the acquisition of skills, the evaluation of different perspectives and the creation of new narratives. ‘Rewiring the Classroom’ offers the chance to share new approaches with like-minded individuals in a concrete and practical way."According to the description by the symposium’s organizers, “Our hope is that, no matter where you are in the process of developing digital lesson plans, you will be one step closer by the end of the day.”