I am interested in a session focused on discussing some of the issues involved in teaching with and about technology. I work as a librarian in a theological library in which we offer both hour-long workshops and a credit-bearing course titled “Technology for Ministry.” The students in that course are primarily masters’ level students in divinity who are interested in both practical and theological considerations for the use of technology in their work. We discuss not only how to use particular tools, but also hope to engage in a broader discussion that begins by examining the purposes for which tools are being considered. In the course, students develop projects based on their own contexts and interests, and examine the tools we consider during the semester with an eye to those projects. In the workshops, although we don’t have time for same kind of reflection, we do try to bring the question of purpose into the discussion where appropriate. We use a few criteria for selecting the tools we use for both workshops and in the class, but I would like to engage in a broader discussion about how each of us selects which tools to teach and how we discuss their uses. Here are a few questions to begin:
• What criteria do you use for selecting a tool to assign as part of a class assignment?
• How do you choose the tools you use in your own classroom presentations?
• How do you account for students’ differing levels of comfort and experience with a particular tool when choosing if and how to teach with it (perhaps particularly when this is not the focus of the assignment or the session)?
• How do you help students consider the biases of a particular tool or form of communication, and its appropriateness for a particular context?
• How do you discuss the limits of technology, and/or the places where a new or popular option may not be the best option for a student’s intended purpose?