The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) program allows students to use technology in a classroom setting for learning purposes. Smart phones provide access to students to use Edsby accounts for assignments the teachers post in class. Teachers have allowed students to take polls and surveys via text messaging, and to look up information not readily available in textbooks.
Google drive has also been a useful tool in learning. Students can use Google Documents to type up assignments, and the teacher can directly grade them, making comments on the assignment itself.
Amanda Colborne, United States History and AP Government teacher, utilizes Google Docs, along with many other teaching techniques, to accommodate the many different learning styles present in teenagers. To appeal to the visual learners, she shows parody music videos and has students create posters in group work. The auditory learners benefit from listening to recordings of historic speeches. Simulations of events that took place are good for the kinesthetic learners to get up and move around all while secretly learning.
“I think it’s important to change up what you do so that it is fresh and not monotonous for the students. Defining vocabulary words is one of the worst ways to teach information, but it’s important to do to be able to cover all of the information needed for the exam,” said Colborne.
Teaching has also been taken into the hands of students themselves through the popular tactic of student teaching. Beverely Jarrett, Psychology 1 and 2 and AP Psychology teacher, had student junior Vraj Patel that used a website where students could text in answers to questions asked at the end of his presentation to make sure they were listening to him teaching.
“He was then able to print out the score reports for how the students did and give them to me to put in the grade book,” said Jarret.
Teachers also take a different route in teaching, rather than simple note taking and pros and cons of situations in a chart form.
“In my Holocaust class, students have to take sides and make decisions on what they think is right or wrong. It’s basically a debate. They get up and move around the classroom and defend their reasoning. When different students start talking, sometimes they will switch sides or move to an undecided area, then, when they move, they have to defend why they moved and what changed their mind. It’s a good way for students to get multiple perspectives and get students thinking and defending their positions,” said Brandon Haas.
Group work isn’t always the best thing to do for learning purposes, but if it’s done right, it’s productive.
“We do a lot of discussion based activities. They have to unscramble [vocabulary terms] in a puzzle which gets them competing with each other and still thinking of the content,” said Haas.
Teachers attend more workshops than students realize. That is, until students are doing an activity in class that they’re actually smiling and enjoying.
Amanda Yurich // Photo Editor