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Matt Morain's Techno-Teaching Philosophy: A Web of Pedagogy by Mind Map: Matt Morain
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Matt Morain's Techno-Teaching Philosophy: A Web of Pedagogy



Textual, Speeches, Editorials

Visual, Ads, Photos

Digital, Websites, Software




Know, Connect, Challenge, Revisit



I use a lot of technology in my classes each semester, and I always try out something new I haven't used before in an educational setting. This can get overwhelming for a lot of students as they try to keep up, for example, with a social bookmarking account, a class wiki, a Moodle site, a blog account, an HTML editor, and a page design program all at once.   In my experience, the key to balancing multiple new technologies in class is to identify each student's digital literacy starting point within the first week and to set realistic expectations for their technological performance and improvement with each unit or assignment.   For this approach, I subscribe to Stuart Selber's trifurcated pedagogical paradigm. He divides computer literacy (though it could be applied more broadly to digital/technological) into functional, crtiical, and rhetorical literacy, a spectrum along which student aptitude and performance can be accurately measured.

Functional, Basic understanding/use, Utilizing existing tutorials, Patient/constant responses to e-mails and questions, One-on-one instruction

Critical, Questioning use/cultural assumptions through thoughtful discussion, Aware of implications of digital use

Rhetorical, Reflective production/use, Moving beyond WYSIWYG

Enthusiasm w/o Determinism

Lesson/activity drives technology, not other way around

Technology = contextualized

Nurture culture of curiosity, experimentation, Know where each student stands with technology from the beginning

Building ethos: I am a...

Dedicated practitioner

Committed experimenter

Avid consumer

Vocal critic



A key principle in both humor and rhetoric is to know your audience: any politician will tell you that an argument has to be presented differently to youth and the elderly, just like any stand-up comedian can tell you that a joke that kills on a college campus probably won't land the same way at a nursing home. Universal appeals are rare to find and rarely applicable.   Toward that end, I recognize that each class each semester has a unique collection of interests and learning styles, so lectures I've given in past sections of the same course won't succeed the same way. I make an effort to customize my lessons and assignment materials based on early conversations we have in class--both formal and informal--and based on online discussion threads or blog posts. Students are much more involved in a discussion or paper if it's touches on something they can relate to or to which they can bring in personal experiences.   This approach also shapes the metaphors I use each semester. My engineers may appreciate more mechanical representations of the paper-writing process while students from the design school may respond to learning about a new technology from a more creative arts trope.

College life

In the news

Around the interwebz

Classroom Environment

Casual, Students are comfortable

Lively, Students are engaged

Fresh, Students are curious

Did the attempt resonate with students?


Not Really

Absolutely Not

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