Teaching Naked – a presentation by Dr. Jose Bowen

This post was originally written by Reta Chaffee (Granite State College) who with her colleagues, attended this presentation.

On October 17, 2013,  Dr. José Bowen presented his workshop,  Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning, at Keene State College.  Dr. Bowen is Dean of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.  He is also a musician, scholar and author.

He started the workshop with an overview of what Clayton Christensen describes as disruptive innovation, when a  seemingly “unattractive or inconsequential to industry” innovation eventually redefines the industry.  Think about film cameras, online banking or even the post office.   In the case of education, the disruption is the fact that “knowledge” is no longer confined to libraries and universities.  Knowledge and information can now be found online any time you want it.    And more particularly, knowledge via courses can be free in the case of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) as modeled at some of the most prestigious universities such as Harvard, MIT and Stanford.   (See WIRED article about the next generation of MOOCs.)

So the challenge then is to find the value proposition for coming to class?   What is it that students cannot get on the Web that they can get in the classroom?  They can get lectures from highly qualified experts around the world.  They can find the content for most anything.  The premise of Dr. Bowen’s workshop is that it is the faculty interaction and the ability to change the student’s mind is what makes the difference.  While he advocates for getting the technology out of the classrooms (i.e. Teaching Naked), he does not advocate for dismissing technology as a tool.  In fact, he provides many examples of how you can use technology to deliver the content and communications outside of the classroom which allow for deeper, richer conversations and interactions when you are together with the students in the classroom.  One of his examples is having students watch a video prior to class and write a reaction, for example “What did you really like/dislike about ___.”  When the students get to class, he has them exchange index cards and write a rebuttal.   GSC instructor, Gail Poitrast, tried this in her own course and noted, “I asked students to watch a math video, take notes, and come to class with math questions on 3 separate index cards to share with others.  The students were engaged, and it exceeded my expectations.”    She also pointed out that it works out if it is well-planned which speaks to another point made by Dr. Bowen.   Course design is now more important given that content is so readily available online.   Instructors need to think more about how to engage the students with strategic learning activities.

In the end, he suggests that the answer to MOOCs are MBCs…or Massively Better Classrooms.   To learn more about Jose Bowen and Teaching Naked, you can watch the 17 minute TedX video or visit his website   Teaching Naked.

Followup: “YouTube is my Homework?!”

Post by Matthew Ragan – –

As I mentioned in the “YouTube is my Homework?!” presentation on 1/14/10,  there are tremendous resources available on the net for video. These have great potential both in and out of the classroom, but the hard part becomes finding and distributing these pieces of media. Finding something relevant can be as easy and simple as a Google search, or it may take some more time to find the piece of media that illustrates your point (or counterpoint). To help you along in the process of finding some of the good stuff, here are a few places to start the search:


National Geographic

The Internet Archive


The Discovery Channel


Teacher Tube

Calculus on YouTube:

Research Channel


The Smithsonian

Book Videos
Interviews with Authors

National Archives

Teacher’s TV

University of California Television

Academic Earth
Courses from Yale, Columbia, UCLA, and MIT

Video Lectures

Harvard at Home

Open Courses at Yale

Georgetown University

Cornell University

TED talks inspire, educate, and inform

There is such an abundance of resources on the web that could be used to supplement courses that I thought the start of a new semester would be an ideal time to post the link to one of the richest video repositories on the web.  Technology, Entertainment, Design, (TED), http://www.ted.com features videos from leading thinkers in the science, education, business, technology, entertainment and other fields. Talks are organized by topics and include Larry Lessig ( on laws that choke creativity), Arthur Ganson (on kinetic art that explores deep philosophical ideas), Seth Godin (on marketing Ideas in the digital age), and Isabel Allende (on women, creativity, the definition of feminism and passion).

So when you have a minute or two poke around the site. You won’t be disappointed!

From TED:

We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

Sample Video: “Evan Williams: How Twitter’s spectacular growth is being driven by unexpected uses”.
From: TED: Ideas Worth Spreading