I’m finding out that one of the most important things I can do as a teacher is to build classroom community. If students like being in my class, and if they like their peers, they’ll work harder and give up less easily.
One of the ways I’m keeping things positive is through technology. Here are some of the ways I’m using tech to infuse some fun:
- I’m taking lots of pictures. Students love them. Pictures say, “I notice you and care about you in addition to caring about your academic work.” I also have a student photographer who takes good pictures — of birthdays, presentations, whatever she likes.
- I’m taking a lot of video. I like video because it accentuates everything. Something serious gets more serious. Something funny gets funnier. Students get ready for the camera and say something memorable.
- I’m keeping a Facebook page. Some teachers use FB to distribute information. I use it for funny updates, deep motivational tidbits, and photos. The whole point is to keep up morale and to make my class a “thing” — more than just a class.
- I’m building an online community. My class website, iseroma.com, is quickly becoming something. Students post content and comment on each other’s work. They write status updates on the sidebar. They record mini-podcasts and produce short films. Although I joke about the site and try to keep things light, it’s clear that my students regard iseroma.com with pride.