Pedagogy in a Digital Age

Partners: Department of History and Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education

Date: 10/14/2015  

Time: 3:00-5:00

Location: Libraries, REAL Classroom, 3 West

Increasingly, knowledge is created, stored, and shared digitally. Both users and creators in a digital age are challenged by the form of information and the tools and methods that are used to make sense of it. Students are voracious consumers of digital information, but studies consistently show that they often don’t have the essential skills to critically engage with digital information or the ability to become effective digital creators. Educators seeking to empower students in a digital environment are forced to consider how this impacts their pedagogy. What considerations must be given to the selection and use of digital tools in the classroom? What skills are necessary, and how can they be integrated into courses and research projects? In what manner does the need for students to critically evaluate information in today’s digital society influence pedagogical approaches  in the classroom? This LOCUS aims to examine research, case studies, and strategies for pedagogy in a digital age.

References: Ian Rowlands, David Nicholas, Peter Williams, Paul Huntington, Maggie Fieldhouse, Barrie Gunter, Richard Withey, Hamid R. Jamali, Tom Dobrowolski, Carol Tenopir, (2008) “The Google generation: the information behaviour of the researcher of the future”, Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 60 Iss: 4, pp.290 – 310 Michael DeSchryver, Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 12, 2014, p. 1-44 ID Number: 17692




K-12 Teachers: Navigating Digital Mathematics Tools and Resources

Eryn Michelle Stehr, Program in Mathematics Education, College of Natural Science | College of Education 


Digital tools and resources available for teachers to use in mathematics teaching vary widely. In supplementing and constructing their mathematics curriculum, teachers must be aware of important and complex features required in order to support the type of mathematics learning in which they expect (and are expected) to engage their students. In order to critically choose and strategically implement digital tools and resources in their mathematics teaching, teachers must develop an internal professional framework for noticing important general, pedagogical, and mathematical features of digital tools and resources. In a master’s level online course on mathematics teaching and learning with technology, the instructor and I support teachers’ development of such an internal evaluation framework by providing opportunities for teachers to develop, discuss, and reflect on shared classroom external frameworks, as well as on their own personalized frameworks. Some observations of teachers’ engagement and struggles will be shared, and some lesson learned.

Sherlock and Science: Using clues to promote curiosity in an interdisciplinary, technology-driven, classroom

Georgina Montgomery,  Lyman Briggs College and Department of History


I would like to present on the challenges and opportunities created by teaching a history of science class focused on gender and sexuality in the REAL classroom. Specifically, I would like to share how I tailored my course to utilize the computers for a good amount of class throughout the semester, and how I used readings and assignments to teach students the skills needed to produce group websites on a topic related to gender and science for their final projects. Some of the themes of the presentation would be control (thoughtful ways to hand it over at times), trust, and teaching students the significance of what is visible, what is invisible, who is heard, and who is silenced in relation to readings, assignments, and website creation.

Learning from my Students: Evolving ideas of the Utility of Humanities Technology in the Classroom

David T. Bailey, Department of History


Over the past two decades, I have presented papers at a number of conferences with the title “Learning from …” Each of these has been based upon an experiment in digital humanities. “Learning from Battle Creek” was inspired by a Teaching American History project in collaboration with the Battle Creek schools. “Learning from Flint” was the product of a small NEH grant to digitize and think about the utility of our project to digitize oral histories of the Flint Sit-Down strike. Although I have made use of digital materials in my own classrooms, I have tended to be a bit cautious in opening the classes up to the broad possibilities of the digital age. This is simply explained–I like to keep control, and there is always a danger in providing students with too much freedom that my messages will be lost in their explorations. Even a rather non-traditional faculty member must still believe to some extent in the value of his or her own words falling on the students’ ears. However, when the History Department created a lab (LEADR) for our majors, equipped not only with every possible machine as well as a four-person staff, I decided to accept the inevitable. In the Fall term, 2014, I chose to remake my senior seminar into an experiment in student-based learning. The putative topic for the class had been “American Forests,” but I switched the topic to American pluralism. I had created (in collaboration with a colleague at MATRIX) a webzeum called “Pluralism and Unity.” The class spent several weeks critiquing the site.There was much not to like in a site conceived almost two decades ago. At the end of that process, they began to create web-based projects of their own, all based on the general theme of pluralism. This meant that, for almost two months, my role was limited to coach and adviser, a challenge for me (although doubtless necessary for the class). I have begun to apply the lessons of that Senior Seminar in my current one, which was fully conceived to take place in the Lab. The subject is the Election of 2000, and the hope is that we will create something approaching an on-line game. Currently, the students are doing the research necessary in order to understand the election. More important, they are looking closely at the moments at which crucial decisions transformed the events. In my remarks, I want to emphasize the change in the role of the faculty member, the transformation of student classroom participation and the continuing challenges of using constantly evolving technology.

Media and Information Literacy: A Pedagogical Approach to 21st Century Skills

Sarah Gretter, Educational Psychology and Education Technology


Social and multimedia platforms such as blogs, social networks, forums, and video sharing websites have become a key component of communication in the 21st century, ranging from flash news, popular press and activism, to trends, scandals and advertising. Additionally, they have also become a repository of media and information. In our hyper-connected society, individuals are constantly exposed to images and information that shape our culture. Possessing the competencies, attitudes, and skills to understand how information is conveyed in our daily lives can thus help citizens recognize its functions and effects on human communication. Educators are key in empowering students to become critical and ethical users of information and media in the 21st century. In this presentation, I discuss strategies for pedagogy in a digital age, based on the recent emphasis on these skills in various educational standards (e.g., Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, Partnership for 21st Century Skills). MIL involves the digital literacy skills needed to evaluate the authenticity of messages in the mass dissemination of information, and discusses the essential role that educators play in their instruction. Integrating MIL in pedagogy in K-16 education has important implications for 21st century citizenship, as media information literate citizen understands the importance of accessibility to information, knows how to evaluate its veracity, and uses it in ethical ways. Additionally, he/she understands media functions and purposes in order to engage with media for self-expression. Because the Internet is a digital platform that hosts interminable archives of mediatized information, a 21st century digital citizenship requires the convergence of these different sets of skills to address the challenges of our globalized world; and it therefore implies that its assimilation in teaching practices.

Teachers Teaching Teachers: Using Technology to Foster Creativity in STEM

Rohit Mehta and Chris Seals, Educational Psychology and Educational Technology


The MSU-Wipro STEM & Leadership Fellowship Program ( is a 9-credit graduate certificate that focuses on empowering math and science teachers in K-12 settings to create transformative, innovative, and multimodal instructional experiences for students. Each cohort includes in-service teachers from the urban setting of Chicago Public Schools, who meet face-to-face in summer for two weeks led by a team of four to six instructors, including a lead instructor from Michigan State University. Following the face-to-face instruction, instructors lead online instruction segments in fall and spring to help the fellows work on year-long projects. In addition, two additional face-to-face meetings are held each of these semesters. Throughout the year, we maintain a personalized advisor-student relationship by assigning 8-10 fellows to each instructor, who are responsible for the success of their fellows. Both the face-to-face and online sessions are driven by the Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework (Mishra & Koehler, 2006), which was used to both create and model a teaching approach that integrates technology to support pedagogical practices to be used in STEM classrooms in ways that are most beneficial for student engagement and understating of the subject matter. We integrated computer and mobile devices and their applications into the assignments that afforded multimodal instruction and composition. The fellows, who varied on their comfort-level with digital technology, used technology to create several multimodal projects and felt more confident in implementing similar practices in their classrooms. Finding a “sweet spot” between technology, pedagogy, and content was important to successful teacher training. We surveyed our fellows throughout the year to assess their TPACK, leadership, and self-efficacy to study the influence of the program on their practices and confidence in their respective schools. We also use this data to research on creativity in teaching and learning and role of aesthetics in STEM.