Suzanne Ensmann: Technology and Playing games

According to Facebook statistics, there are over 800 million active users on this social network.

The US Census Bureau’s reflection of 312 million residents in America seems to pale in comparison.  If 50% of these Facebook users logon daily (and, yes, those are the actual numbers who do), that number is still higher than every resident living in our country.

How many of those 400 million do you think are in your classrooms?  Oh, I know, your students are a different population.  They don’t have computers (or those skills), right? Do they have a smart phone in their pocket?  Take a poll.  A quick survey in a few of my Student Success classes informed me that 100% of my students had cell phones (AKA computers), 100% of them have laptops, and 100% of them had a Facebook account!

The physical classroom where I am currently teaching does not have computers, but my students do!  Don’t know an answer to a question I pose?  Google it!  Amazingly this engages the students and eliminates that “deer in the headlights” look.  Taking a quiz and not certain if you answered correctly or not?  Immediate feedback returned when they hit that submit button!

One third of my students polled were kinesthetic learners.  They learn through playing games.  So, we play a game to review prior lessons every class on our cell phones.  Think about it.  Do you think students prefer to do classwork or play games while they learn?

The power of words goes a long way in my class.  We clarify if they “have to” come to class or “want to”.  After we break down the cost of their education (tuition, gas, time) and focus on the value, power of positive thinking, and the career pathway goal they are setting out to achieve, their attitude changes.  We’re in our sixth week this semester and I have close to 100% attendance, with the exception of those who’ve experienced the common cold here and there.

Use of technology and affirmations in the classroom are a starting point to foster student persistence, but I can’t say it’s the only ingredient for improved attendance. Since “cell phone” is no longer a dirty word in my class, though, my students will actually use the technology outside of class for their education like they do with every other world activity they partake in.   Communication, communication, communication!  They text me if they’re running late, out ill, or forget what chapter we’re reading.  I remind them of their test on Tuesday, that project that’s due next week, or post a popular motivational video to our Facebook class page.  Literally, I’m placing the reminders in their face where they’re playing.   But, I know your students can’t do these things.

A literacy teacher just boasted to me about the high completion rate she had for her students over the last few months.  Interesting, she has them all listed under her contacts in her cell phone.  Text messaging is a common occurrence (24/7) with her students.  Too much work?   I guess it’s about perception. A full classroom and completions?  I call it fun.  She seems to also.

Not a believer yet?  Read stats from the Deputy Director for Education Technology at the U.S. Department of Education.

If you want to support student success in your classroom and move them into Career Pathway in today’s digital revolution era, think Connect to… Complete to… Careers!  Analyze, create, and plan, but most importantly act on incorporating social media and digital technologies in your classroom today!

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2 thoughts on “Suzanne Ensmann: Technology and Playing games

  1. Pingback: Suzanne Ensmann

  2. Pingback: Brent Stubbs: Career Pathway to Nowhere- Why technology matters « Florida Literacy Coalition's Blog

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