Students hate homework. I did. I do my best not to overwhelm my students with homework; unfortunately, it is sometimes a necessary evil. The axiom “Practice makes perfect” is around for a good reason. The key to successful homework is creating practice that will engage students. I am delving more and more into the world of technology in learning, and I have discovered what I have called “stealth teaching.”
Teens and Technology
Students have a natural affinity for technology. According to statistics reported by PEW Research Center, self-labeled as “a non-partisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world” technology is inextricably entrenched in teens’ lives. They report that
“92% of American teens go online daily, including 24% who go online ‘almost constantly.'”
Given how much time teens spend online, it is even more important for educators to help them to see the Internet not just as a toy, but as a tool. Samantha Goodyear, a high school student said on the Huffington Post , “The youth of today have a voice like we never have before. Social media can be an awesome environment to encourage each other, communicate with people and share our stories.” As a teacher, I have found that tapping into that excitement about online communication has allowed me to make practice enjoyable for my students.
Technology as a Tool
An example on my classroom website, Logophiles Unleashed, is an extra credit opportunity I have given my students. In less than one week, more of my students have already completed this work than typically do such an assignment overall. The quality of the writing also indicates that the students were mindful of vocabulary and mechanics as they wrote. This work is directly in line with my state’s TNReady standards and Common Core, but far more enjoyable for my students. Ninja Teaching!
I have also created study aids on Quizlet for some of my tests. I am new to Quizlet, so I took it for a test drive with one of my classes to see what they thought of it. It was a hit! I only required that they review the flashcards once and take one review, but they started competing with each other for the best times and scores and tried all of the reviews. They spent far more time than I had anticipated. They used the next set to review themselves at home. Again, because this is technically a social media platform, they were able to see how their classmates had done, and were attempting to “one-up” each other, never realizing that they were learning. To them, they were playing an on-line game. To me, I had made them study for a test. Ninja teacher strikes again!