Some ways that I am already engaging my students is by having them explore real world applicable problems with technology. In one lesson I did students used the Desmos graphing app to explore three real cell phone plans and decided which one they think will be best for them when their parents kick them off of their plan. Also every class I have my students work in groups. This engages them substantially more than if I lectured to them the majority of the period. In my class students discuss with each other how to make their own meaning of the mathematics. I also act like a "normal human" in front of my students instead of an all knowing educator. If I don't know the answer to a problem, I tell my students. Also before I share a strategy for solving a complex problem I tell my students that I struggle with these types of problems and this strategy is what helps make them easier for me. This engages students because most of them are so afraid of being wrong or looking incompetent in front of their peers that they do not even try. After I show them that I'm not perfect either they are much more likely to become engaged in the lesson and try things for themselves. From Walpert-Gawron's article Kids Speak Out on Student Engagement I could commit to implementing working with technology more. The curriculum I am currently using allows for some technology based activities, but most of them do not use technology in meaningful ways. I would like to use technology to teach students how to program algorithms. Programming is engaging because a program is something that students create and they get immediate feedback on if they did it correctly or not. I could also implement getting students out of their seats. Having students do rotation or stations activities would get the up and moving around the room to help engage them. I also can commit to implementing student choice into my lessons. I especially think this would be helpful when giving students projects. If students can choose which type of project they would like to do they will be much more eager to do it.
I think that Instagram is an excellent tool to engage students and help them learn the content. The Instagram activity described in the article Instagram ELE Challenge! by Pilar Munday can help students learn Spanish and show them them different ways that technology can be used. This challenge helps prepare students for a global society because it teaches them how to use technology and a method for communicating in a global society. This activity also helps students learn another language which is crucial for preparing students for a global society. furthermore is shows students how to use that new language in a practical way. In most language classes I took we did not learn how to use the language in ways that native speakers did, like communicating on social media. These teachers inspire innovation and collaboration by first sharing this activity by writing this article; then by providing a link to a feedback form where they encourage other teachers to share their adaptations and ideas. I think teachers should collaborate like this more to help and inspire each other to be more innovative.
Instagram Scavenger Hunt
I think that Caitlin Tucker's idea to have students use Instagram to document their experience on a field trip is a innovative way to engage students. In her article Instagram Scavenger Hunt she describes how students were given a list of items that she wanted to take pictures of. The students would take pictures while on the trip and explain each item in the picture's description. If I were going to use this activity I would have to make some adaptations because we do not take field trips. I could have students complete a similar activity where they have to take pictures of geometric figures and then describe the properties of those figures. This would help them to apply what they are learning in our geometry unit to real life. I think I would give students time in class to take pictures around school and then offer extra credit for students who took pictures outside of school. Then then they could pick their favorite picture and do a presentation on that shape and its properties. I could also use it as an ongoing project throughout the year where students take pictures of any math that they see outside of our class. This will show students how math is all around us in a fun and engaging way.
3 Ways Colleges Use Instagram
In his article, 3 Ways Colleges Use Instagram, Ryan Lytle explains ways that colleges use Instagram to connect with their students. I think that these techniques can be used for high schools and other schools as well. People like Instagram because pictures can be very a very powerful tool in telling a story and evoking emotion. Other schools can take pictures of events and post them to Instagram like colleges do. This will help schools involve the community in their events, which is important for schools. This will also increase school spirit among students and staff. Instagram can also be used to keep alumni involved in all of their schools after graduation. I agree with the article that it is easier to keep alumni involved when they see a picture related to their former school everyday. Schools can benefit from keeping alumni involved in their school by having them come speak to students about their accomplishments after they graduated.