Tech Enhanced vs. Tech Less: A Reflection on my Teaching Practice through Action ResearchSubmitted by Ana Contreras, English

In Fall 2018, I taught two classes of ENG 101 English Composition. One class focused on using tech-enhanced tools to instruct and engage students. The second course involved less technology while still engaging students with active learning strategies. These courses covered the same topics, but the assignments and in-class activities varied depending on the emphasis of technology. I utilized action research methodologies to compare these courses and reflect on my teaching practice.

Before I go into more detail about what I learned, it’s important to reflect on the inspiration for this project. I began my teaching career at DeVry University, where I taught blended courses embedded with various technological tools. I was intrigued by the opportunities technology offered in college-level instruction, and I wondered how these strategies might apply to the teaching of writing and rhetoric. As a result, I began an online graduate certificate program at Radford University entitled Teaching Language Arts in the Digital Age. The focus of my graduate work centered around the way technology can be used to teach composition and meet students in the spaces where they are already communicating.

When I began teaching at Harper College two years ago, I was already familiar with teaching in the tech-enhanced classroom. I spent some time getting to know this wonderful community and encountered different approaches to classroom instruction. I couldn’t help by wonder if I was missing an opportunity to learn.

The Tech Enhanced vs. Tech Less action research project developed out of this curiosity. I was motivated to explore my practice from a different perspective in that hope that I could become a better teacher.

This past semester, I took the Action Research for Innovation GEC course offered by the Academy. At the end of the course, I constructed an infographic based upon my experience with this Tech Enhanced vs. Tech Less project. The infographic includes some of my instructional strategies and findings. View the infographic.

I will be giving a more formal presentation at a conference, the Faculty Summer Institute in Champaign, IL, May 21-22, 2019. This conference centers around the intersection of teaching, learning, and technology. I would also like to present at Harper in the upcoming year and share my work with our scholarly community.