My primary role as an educator is to nurture creative spaces for critical understanding of the relationships between media technologies and society. When discussing with students about different technological appropriations of media in politics and art, I guide them through a repertoire of information and I expect them to engage through observation, analysis and hands-on experimentation to extrapolate common sense impressions and elaborate critical readings of such complex media ecologies. As a researcher in the field of Digital Media I provide students with analytical and technical resources, as well as foster a student’s autonomy and ownership of her learning process. Once in the classroom, I aim to create a learning environment that allows students to feel confident exploring multiple modes of scholarship, as well as comfortable reflecting on their learning process.
My approach to teaching and learning is founded upon the following principles:
Collaboration: Dialogue and open discussion are key components to fostering a collaborative learning environment. Moreover, I believe that collective work is richer when it includes diverse perspectives. As I am working on my lesson plans I incorporate activities that allow students to explore different layers of knowledge construction: theoretical reflection, observation, application, testing, and evaluation. I find that incorporating real life problem solving into lesson plans also allows the students to expand their learning experience beyond the physical space of the classroom and visualize practical applications of knowledge.
Diversity: I am particularly sensitive to cultural diversity and to differences in learning styles. I believe that learning environments that purposefully engage with issues of cultural diversity tend to shape students into being more open minded, having a greater sense of respect for others, and possessing a stronger sense of self-value. I am invested in creating an inclusive, respectful, and safe classroom environment in which all students can succeed.
Focus on learning: Different cultural environments, institutional practices and resources remind me that each teaching/learning experience is unique. Attention to diverse learning styles is also key to ensuring that all students are given an equal opportunity to learn. Every time I enter a classroom for the first time I make the effort to learn about the students:, their origins, their beliefs, their expectations. I want to know about them and how they learn so I can most effectively guide them through the content of the course.
Practice-oriented: I favor the opportunity to learn creatively, experimenting with various media and interdisciplinary approaches to design practices. Being a researcher who is very interested in the entanglement of technologies, arts, and social practices, I find it very useful, for example, to explore methods that allow for critical reflection through material engagement. In this way, while ensuring that students can express their comprehension of concepts through text based assignments, I also make sure that they are capable of critical analysis through other modes of scholarship such as audiovisual products, interactive media, and media arts. I believe that reflecting on the social implications of technology appropriation as well as encouraging students to experiment with a variety of media, enhances their learning experience as they utilize it to interpret concepts, analyze realities, and test applications.
Gradual Assessment: I believe that the type of assessment should be chosen according to the maturity level of the classroom. Processual assessment is equally important as the assessment of milestones, therefore I use classroom assessment techniques frequently. These techniques inform me about content apprehension and also allow me to assess my teaching and the level of engagement of the classroom. I recognize both the importance of group work and the value of individual assessment. For this reason I often combine group projects with individual reflection.