Teaching Naked

The title of this blog caught your eye, did it not? I am sure that was part of the reasoning behind the book title by Jose’ Bowen. No, it is not pornography though it has raised an eyebrow or two when I have mentioned it at various meetings of university faculty or administrators. The full title of Bowen’s book is Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning. This easy-to-read book has some very thoughtful points to make and is worth taking the time to read, especially if you are involved in program redesign.

No, it is not anti-technology. In fact, Bowen gives a number of very good examples of how to use technology OUTSIDE of class to scaffold student learning. What it does do is promote active and collaborative person-to-person learning INSIDE the classroom. He makes a strong point that those of us still teaching on brick-and-mortar campuses need to make coming to class meaningful to students if we are not to lose them to the online alternatives.

WIU recently built a new Quad Cities campus. I was on the committee that made decisions about what would go in the buildings (furniture, signage, technology, etc.) If I had read this book BEFORE doing this, I would have had some helpful suggestions to make. For instance: instead of equipping each classroom with a computer, give each faculty member a laptop that he/she can take to the classroom, if needed. Bowen is not only trying to save money on technology with this idea but also encourage faculty to rely less on PowerPoints (passive education) and become more amenable to having students actively working on projects in class where instructor assistance is readily available.

I know we are all busy and adding more reading to our list can be off-putting. However, consider this book when next you have time to read something. It may not be a “beach book” but it presents its case in a very readable fashion and gets the mind thinking about possibilities. And, to top all that off, think about the expressions on your fellow colleagues’ faces when you tell them you have been reading about teaching naked!

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