Friday, February 18, 2011

Digital tools and blogging in the Engineering Classroom: Reflection


This is my very first blog!  My Gen X-ness is certainly showing!  While I consider myself pretty savvy technologically, the Digital Tools class is an eye opener that I am becoming a baby dinosaur that will continue to grow into a huge dinosaur unless I do something about it.  I want to be able to convert my engineering and academic knowledge into relevant pedagogical processes including Web 2.0 technologies, without crashing and burning.

This class has already exposed me to some tools that I can use in the educational setting. It would be a disservice not to incorporate some carefully placed technology into the curriculum of my first-year intro engineering course.  Some of the tools that I would like to incorporate for my class are a Wiki, a podcast or two, and a video library used to present engineering problems online.  My advisor and a great inspiration, Eugenia Etkina, has a video library of physics problems.  This is a great tool that she has made available for her students.  These problems include a taping of certain experiments that would be harder to bring to a standard classroom.  With this tool, her students can carry out these experiments/problems without the need for tools and equipment.  In my opinion, she is ahead of her time and a great role model.  

I haven’t quite figured out how a blogs and chats might apply to my area (Engineering) in the classroom.  To me it seems that blogs, for example, are much more useful in the humanities and social science area.    As I write this, I am googling ‘engineering blogs’ and have found so many (  However, upon brief survey of them, they are anecdotal or journal-like in nature.  They seem like great side pieces to a class, but not really a comprehensive tool like it can be for a humanities or social science area.  To me, it seems that for engineering, math, and the sciences that Wiki’s, simulation, online tutoring, and other area specific computerized tools would be very useful in enhancing instruction. I would love to hear from some STEM folks on how blogs or other expository type tools are incorporated into STEM areas in the classroom.