Teaching with Technology through the Years

donnelly_office_tech_7aug2017Office discoveries, as Dr. Michael Donnelly, Emeritus Associate Professor, cleaned out his office after 45 years of service to K-State. (Photo: August 7, 2017)

Can you identify all of the technologies in the photo above? Have you taught with one or more of them?

While assisting Emeritus Associate Professor Michael Donnelly this summer, as he prepared his office for a colleague to use, I was reminded of how quickly a new technology becomes a souvenir.  The same object that represents the immediate, as we strive to be at the avant garde, becomes a map to the past when it sits cheek by jowl with its successors.

My teaching career started with the technology of the audio cassette and the VHS tape: poems read by their authors and interviews captured from Public Radio, a series of video clips assembled from films and stage plays that could be easily cued for use during class. CDs made class discussion even easier, as you skipped between tracks; Zip disks could hold those large image files that floppy disks (3 1/2″ or 5 1/4″) could not. DVDs and portable laptops would speed the experience and broaden the possibilities even further.

What impressed me the most, though, as I posed the objects above for their close-up, was the dedication of faculty members like Michael Donnelly to experiment with technology in pursuit of better teaching. With each innovation, with each transition from one medium to another, the goal is often the same: How will this new technology complement the technology of the book?  How might it bring into the present the language and visual images of the past and make them live, for us, in the current moment?

Karin Westman, Associate Professor and Department Head

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