Portals and Teaching

Happy Wednesday! I hope you are having a lovely day. Today I just want to talk briefly about portals and teaching. (And apologies to those who immediately thought of Portal 2, I’m not talking about video game.) Plus share some pretty photographs from one of my favorite Tumblr feeds.

I teach information literacy along with my fellow librarian colleagues at my university. I love teaching, but I also love summer when the library is quiet and I get a break from teaching. In addition to catching up on a lot of my own learning, research, and work, I use the summer to revise my information literacy course. I tear apart the class every summer in order to improve it based on student comments and my own observations in order to make it more useful and relevant to my students. So that gets me to the topic of portals.

Some of you may have heard of The Threshold Concept and how it relates to learning. Basically you have to go through a threshold, or portal, in order to learn a new concept. It is a tricky, sometimes annoying and difficult process, but once you cross a threshold your thinking and perception will have been “transformed.” Obviously this got me to thinking about portals and photography (I’ll explain in a minute) and how I could use images of portals to spur discussion in my classes.

So now to one of my favorite Tumblr feeds, Beautiful Portals. There are amazing photographs of portals on this Tumblr, many of which involving staircases and/or books. I’m hopefully that I can use some of the images to get my students discussing learning as a process and the various thresholds/portals we go through as we learn and grow. But I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing yet. Luckily I have two more months to figure it out.

For now, enjoy a couple of the wonderful images from Beautiful Portals:

From Beautiful Portals

And this lovely photography, reblogged from craigfinlay

The Abbey Bookshop, Paris, France

The Abbey Bookshop, Paris, France by craigfinlay

Do you use threshold concepts when teaching? How do you integrate images into your teaching? How do you conceptualize learning and teaching? I’d love to hear about it in comments.

Have a fantastic rest of your day and I’ll be back on Friday with some tech news and tools to share with your patrons. Allons-y!

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