Four Burning Questions with James Basham

Posted on Monday, March 11, 2013

On Monday, March 18, James Basham will open McGill’s second Disabilities Awareness Week when he delivers the keynote address. / Photo courtesy of James Basham.

By McGill Reporter Staff

Dr. James Basham is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas in the Department of Special Education. His research is focused on student learning in modern learning environments chiefly related to the application of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). On Monday, March 18, Basham will open McGill’s second Disabilities Awareness Week when he delivers the keynote address, Packing the Digital Backpack: Creating Sustainable Classrooms in which he discusses the role of modern technology in teaching the “digital-age student.”

You will be talking about the digital backpack – What are the essential items that every Professor should include in their backpack?

The most important item isn’t really an “item” but a grounded approach for how to leverage student learning that uses modern technology tools for supporting desired outcomes. During the presentation we’ll talk about some “cool tools” but more importantly I’ll also talk about the critical features and process for meeting the needs of all learners. I guess, if I were to say one “item” it would be a great backpack that’s flexible enough to carry a variety of items that are dependent on the variability of the learners and the environment.

Who is the digital-age student?

Simply it’s a student that has grown-up after or during the digital revolution. Traditionally, these students were called Digital Natives but more recently the notion that there’s a actual divide between those who grew up before the digital revolution and those who grew up after has come into question. That is, as the engineers of learning, educators have the ability to shape and design learning environments that meet needs of all learners, including learners of the digital age. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework that can support the design of this type of learning environment.

How does technology change the way students learn today and what are the best ways to integrate this into a University classroom?

Modern technology has shifted the focus from teaching and learning as a centralized practice that takes place in a classroom, to a decentralized practice that overcomes the boundaries of the classroom. The role of the university educator is to design learning experiences that provide for the desired learning outcomes while also leveraging distributed teaching and learning.

What is a sustainable teaching approach?

A sustainable teaching approach uses research-based instructional frameworks, such as UDL, evidence-based teaching practices, as well as widely available technology and distributes the charge of teaching and learning between both the educator and the students.

Packing the Digital Backpack: Creating Sustainable Classrooms; Monday, March 18; 12 – 1:30 p.m.; Bronfman Building (1001 Sherbrooke Street West), Nabisco Room (#620). Lunch will be provided.

For a complete list of Disabilities Awareness Week activities go here.


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Category: Four Burning Questions

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