Media Thread and Digital Pedagogy

I wanted to do a combined post on these two topics because they productively addressed many of the same issues. The pedagogy working group addressed a number of fundamental questions about how technology can make teaching more effective and more engaging for the students, and ideally, easier in certain ways for the professor.  While we agreed that there can be a steep learning curve for the adoption of technology, another factor to consider is the way in which this adoption can force a larger re-thinking of what one does in the classroom. A number of tools and techniques were discussed (including an exercise of letting the class put together the slide lecture on the fly with something as simple as google image search), but the platform of  Columbia University’s Media Thread ( provided an environment for tackling many of these challenges.

This software allows students and teachers to capture media from almost anywhere on the web, but it is particularly smoothly integrated with sources like Artstor and Youtube.  It allows embedding high resolution images and videos, which then creates the ground for a rich environment of tagging and annotating.  Students can analyze images with careful links to a specific detail of the painting, while professors can provide live feedback with fully integrated content.  The program allows a self-contained ecosystem—a kind of microcosm of scholarly discovery, collaboration and review which cannot help but prepare students for the 21st century realities of content management and analysis both inside and outside the academy.

Mike Maizels, Predoctoral Fellow, National Portrait Gallery

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