As an educator, fall always feels like spring to me. It is a time of new beginnings, renewal, optimism and endless possibilities. Every new semester is a clean slate with new students and new challenges – even if it is a course I have taught dozens of times before. This fall and winter semesters, I am going to try a few new things to engage my students. Here are a couple of them:
1. Use Twitter in the classroom – It is always a challenge to stimulate discussion in class that involves as many students as possible. Speaking in a classroom in front of others does not come naturally or is downright scary for many people – especially introverts (like me). Why not have students communicate using a medium that they are comfortable with? I am inspired by this video of a history professor at the University of Texas using Twitter to engage more of her students in classroom discussion.
An extra benefit – students will be using their smartphones for tweeting instead of texting in class. 🙂
2. Create crossword puzzles – Giving review questions to students is a tool to help them learn material before or after a lecture. How about getting students to do these questions during class to create more active learning? I will be giving my students a crossword puzzle at the beginning of some classes. I am creating the puzzles by converting review questions into crossword clues. There are many online crossword puzzle generators. A good free one that I found is at The Teacher’s Corner. It took me all of half an hour to reword the questions into clues, input the clues and answers, and – presto – a crossword puzzle was generated. Here’s what my first puzzle looks like: