“By learning you will teach, by teaching you will learn”
I am both a teacher and student but I don’t see much difference between those two roles. As the Latin proverb above states, learning and teaching are inextricably linked.
I have been teaching at Durham College for almost ten years, after working in news television for over a decade. I have taught a variety of media-related courses including web writing and web development, broadcast journalism, online journalism, social media, magazine writing, magazine publishing and photography. I love teaching and I’m always looking for ways to enhance my students’ learning by using new technology in the classroom. Since the courses I teach all have elements of digital media, I am constantly keeping myself updated on developments in that area. It can be a bit daunting at times, due to the constant changes in the world of digital technology, but it is a wonderful problem to have as I am afforded the opportunity to continue learning about emerging digital media.
I believe learning is a life-long process. If I don’t better myself by learning new teaching techniques or keeping up with the changes in the subjects I am teaching I believe that I am short changing my students. I tell my students to never stop learning, not only as a way to stay competitive in the field of media but also to continue their journeys of personal growth.
I completed a Master’s degree in Education with a specialization in Digital Technologies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. For my Master’s research project, I researched the impact of digital technology on adult literacy. To read my research project on adult literacy and technology click here.. I am currently a PhD candidate in the Education – Language, Culture and Teaching program at York University. My dissertation is investigating street art’s potential to create ‘pop ups’ of informal, public spaces of learning, online and offline, while considering its pedagogical significance as a feminist literacy practice.
My educational philosophy aligns with Critical Pedagogy and I am very inspired by the writings of Paulo Freire, bell hooks and Joe Kincheloe. I am also influenced by the following educational theories: social constructivisim, communities of practice and edupunk.
I am a big believer in project-based learning. Since being at Durham College I have conceived, produced and researched several innovative digital media projects for the courses I teach. These innovations were implemented with the purpose of enhancing my students’ learning. One such project is the Downtown Oshawa News blog, a hyperlocal blog that I created as a hands-on learning experience for my students in 2010. It provides an authentic work experience that reflects real-world situations for media students. Click here to find out more about this project.
I’ve also had the opportunity to research and implement new technology in courses I’ve developed. In 2010 I introduced flip cameras in a course I was teaching. To learn more about that effort, click here.
These are just two examples of innovative ideas I have conceived and put into action while teaching at Durham College. It has been extremely gratifying to be able to think about different educational issues and then put projects in place to conduct research with the intent of trying to answer questions I may have. One such issue that I felt needed to be looked at was how an inclusive classroom in a media program might impact the Canadian broadcasting industry in terms of diversity. This project was well received by many of the administrators and faculty at different post-secondary education institutions all across Canada. In this mixed-methods research project I surveyed and interviewed faculty, who teach media courses, on their inclusive teaching practices. As well, I asked several broadcast professionals, from diverse backgrounds, to reflect on their own broadcast education in Canada. The findings from this small-scale research project led me to look carefully at my own teaching methods and make it more inclusive as well. A published paper on that research can be found here.
I thoroughly enjoy the teaching and research process as seen in the three examples mentioned above and my passion for those areas in education has not gone unnoticed by Durham College. In 2012 I was awarded the Vice-President Academic Faculty Award of Excellence, an award given to recognize and honour the excellence of faculty who are committed to their own learning as well as their students’ learning. In 2010 I was nominated for the TVO Best Lecturer competition. The student who sent in the nomination commended me on my constant efforts to stay current in the media industry by learning and then teaching in my classes emerging digital technology.
I have been very fortunate to have so many positive experiences since entering the field of education. I have grown immensely as a person and have seen my students grow as individuals, both academically and as citizens of both local and global communities. Not only have I had the chance to positively impact the lives of over 300 students and numerous faculty but I’ve also had the opportunity to research issues that I feel are important in the field of education.