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Using digital tools

Sound pedagogical practices form the foundation of good teaching, no matter the format. Technology can certainly enhance teaching and learning, though. When you are working toward flexibility, the question usually isn’t whether to use technology but which types of technology to adopt. You shouldn't adopt a technology and then try figure out how to make it work in class, though. Rather, consider the problems or challenges you face in your classes, and then determine how technology might help address those issues. For instance:

  • Maintaining consistency in class content
  • Improving communication
  • Improving student engagement and interaction
  • Allowing more students to participate
  • Helping larger numbers of students learn
  • Improving skills and experience
  • Enhancing understanding, especially at broader and deeper levels
  • Reducing mundane tasks

Those are just a few ways technology can help in your classes. This section will provide an overview of tools you might consider. It emphasizes tools supported by KU's Information Technology staff. Those tools require no additional fees for students and are often more familiar to students than some outside tools. And because IT staff provide assistance, they can reduce the burden on instructors and students.

This section will also list some outside tools that can be helpful under the right circumstances. Keep in mind, though, that those tools may require additional payment for instructors or students. Even small additional charges may be difficult for some students to pay, so it is best to find no-cost options whenever possible. Also keep in mind that Information Technology at KU will not support outside tools. If you are comfortable with that, go ahead and use the tool. If you aren’t technologically savvy, though, or feel that you need campus support, you might want to rethink your plans.

Whatever technology you use, always consider the time (if any) you and your students will need to learn how to use that technology. Consider, too, the technology students will be using in their other classes. Technology should be a means of enhancing learning, not something that distracts from core course elements.