As a history student for almost four years here at Guelph, I have been introduced to many digital tools that have affected my studies. I’m not the most tech-savvy person by any means, so most of my experience with digital tools and approaches is limited to researching for papers and studying. Pretty basic stuff.
As mentioned in class on Monday the transition from high school to university was where I began to see the capabilities of digital tools in helping me study and work. As a high school student my researching method for a paper or class project was reliant on mostly books that I could find in my schools library, or anything that I could find in the hour or so of class time that was provided in the computer labs for research. Coming to university was a dynamic change in how I research for writing. In most of my classes people from the library have given presentations on how to research and what tools the university provides for you, which has helped me to find better and more sources for any paper I’m trying to write. Without sounding too dramatic I really think that the digital tools for research that the school provides like Primo or other search engines like JSTOR have changed my process of researching and writing a paper. Since finding articles and books is so much easier and accessible the quality of the sources I use in my papers is much higher as well. Rather than just using whatever sources I can find that relate to the topic. I am able to look at a wider scope of material and pick and choose the best ones for my specific argument.
Outside of things the school provides I have used digital tools as a way to help me in my classes. I’ve taken several economics classes in my first year or two at Guelph and whenever the math or the concepts were giving me a hard time I would occasionally look at youtube videos/tutorials (such as Khan Academy’s Micro/Macroeconomics series: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAEA5E9ACA1508F92) on those topics to get a better understanding. To me the idea of these outside platforms of learning and teaching, utilising these digital approaches, is fascinating because of the capabilities it has. If somebody wants to learn how to build a computer or rewire some speakers they are able to discuss with others over the internet or watch a step by step video that they can pause or rewind as many times as they want, rather than paying somebody else to do it for them, or going to a class to teach them how. Somebody can search for one of these videos or discussions when they need to accomplish something, watch it as they do it themselves, and then forget about that skill or whatever until they need to do it again, in which case they could look up the video once more. In the future it is not too much of a stretch to assume that this method of teaching using digital tools will have a huge influence on how people teach others and how they learn.