Saturday, October 12, 2013

How can BYOD Help Motivate my Students?

Though this is my fifth time (wait... sixth? I've lost count) teaching the MCF3M course in the past eight years, I find I'm putting just as much prep into it as a new course. I'm loving the effects of having the students navigate their way through the course, but I want to make sure I give them every possible chance to succeed.

What that has meant for me so far, is that I'm spending hours every week tweaking the learning goals, finding good resources (appropriate language level, appropriate academic level, resources aimed at the right age level - even the look of the resource. Is it too childish? Too mature?), and tracking the students. In this sense, teaching the course is what I expected: lots of time spent in advance of the class preparing resources, but little to no time spent preparing "teaching" materials.

Students working together to master one of the learning goals.

But I'm also looking at how to motivate the students, or help them motivate themselves. The BYOD is a big part of this - by bringing the material to where the students are, by engaging them on their own devices, and by putting them in control.

Initially, this worked very well since it was a novelty for the students to be able to use their devices in class (I'm one of the few teachers at my school that allows this). But like any novelty, the excitement is beginning to wear off.

So my next question becomes: how can I continue to harness the power of BYOD in order to continue to motivate the students through the quickly-approaching dreary winter months when I'm sure math is not high on their list of priorities?

By looking at the results of the motivation survey, one theme that pops out is that my students' motivation depends on how useful the curriculum is. Will they need this information once they have written the final exam and finished the course? Is this something that can apply to some aspect of their everyday life? Or possibly their future careers? Can they see the link between taking this course and being successful in life?

These are all areas in which I can improve. It could be as simple as adding a tidbit of information to a learning goal ("manufacturers use functions like these to calculate profit based on production cost"), or as intricate as designing an investigation based on real-life phenomena (tracking the diminishing height of a regulation vs. a too-soft basketball).

Incorporating BYOD, perhaps I could send them out with their devices to create a photo-collage of how these concepts might be used in real life. Or contact an industry representative on Twitter to ask where they have seen these concepts. Or create an augmented reality "aura" demonstrating to other students how they themselves might use some of these concepts in their own careers.

At the end of this unit, as we finish with quadratic functions, I was planning on giving the students a cross-curricular task, linking what any part of we have done with any other topic/learning goal they mastered from any course they took in grade 10. But now I'm not convinced that would be the best way to motivate them. 

Ideas? 

1 comment:

  1. I love the Auraimsa app, I only wish I had a class to use it with. I've dont multiplication hunts with a camera and my 8 year old boys. http://berkybus.blogspot.com/2013/09/wow-multiplication.html

    At one of the schools many years ago we used GPS devices to measure the size and shape of the school grounds, I wonder if you can do that with phones.

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