Creating connection through real-world relevance
Energetic. Engaging. Inviting. Impactful. Despite the difficult nature of the curriculum they cover, these are the words that seniors at Lovejoy High School use to describe Darla Emerson’s AP Statistics classroom. Why? Because Emerson has harnessed the power of connection to motivate and engage her students in a challenging, upper-level math environment.
First, she makes a tangible connection between the content they’re learning and the real world around them.
“I've never had a kid ask me ‘When am I going to use this?’ because when they walk in the door on the first day, they already see the relevance of the class. And I think that's the key thing, they see the relevance,” she said.
From statistics used in government polls to medications to physiology, Emerson’s students learn to take a critical look at the numbers they see on an everyday basis through the lens of statistical analysis.
And the examples they’re presented with in class never cease to entertain. Senior Austin Chapman remembers a particular study that he and his classmates were astonished by.
“We were doing a study on the probability that a woman in England could smell Parkinson's,” he said. “After doing studies and looking at the data and the probability, we found that there really was a woman who could actually smell Parkinson's. It’s examples like that that just makes the class interesting.”
Using SMART EdTech Solutions to drive connections in and out of the classroom
The complex nature of a statistics class makes it imperative that students have access to the lesson content in a way that allows for interaction and self-paced learning.
Her SMART board and access to Lumio make it easy for Emerson to provide access to all of her students, every period, no matter where they sit or whether they’re at home or in class that day.
“I have 33 kids in this next class and the kids sitting in the corner [that] cannot see the board as well, they can tune in on hellosmart.com and they can see actually in real time what I'm writing on the board, so that's really neat,” she said.
“There's a lot of applets and things that we can put into the Lumio. They can click on that and I can see what they're doing. It’s a great way to present information.”
Crystal Hume is the instructional technology coordinator for Lovejoy Independent School District. She says that part of the key to successful implementation of EdTech is to take advantage of the training and support that partners like SMART offer their clients.
“SMART really reaches out to their customers, and if you are willing to accept it, they will be there for you,” she said. “If you're going to purchase it, do it all the way. Take all the help you can get if the company's offering to send someone out to train; let them come out and partner with them. I learned a lot from SMART by doing that.”