September 17, 2014
Around the big top

Students, here’s some (more) pointers

Posted 9/1/09

Last year, as the time to go back to school approached, I dropped some wisdom for the young men and ladies going back. I, with my consummate fashion sense, helped them with their back to school shopping, explaining what is and isn’t necessary, and how to get some bang for their buck (or parents’ bucks) when it comes to buying new school clothes.

Not one to repeat, I thought to myself, “How can I better equip students this year?”

I came up with some very poignant points.

First off, when you get a homework assignment in class, and time to work on it, why not do it right away and get it done with?

Now, everybody knows school is the hot hangout for high schoolers, and no one wants to actually work when they’re already at work (school technically is a job when you’re there), but come on, wouldn’t it be better to socialize and have fun after school, between classes or at lunch, without some pesky teacher telling you “Shhhh…” every two seconds? It’s a lot more convenient.

Oh, about that pesky teacher, if you’re having your “happy time” on their time, they can’t help you if you don’t “get” the assignment because they are too busy trying to keep you and your cohorts in line.

Also, by doing your work, while at work, that teacher can, believe it or not, help you out (oh yeah, try doing the work before saying “I don’t get it”). Most likely, that teacher isn’t on your cell phone’s contact list, your friend on facebook or following you on twitter (although these are good ways for teachers and students to keep in touch), so they’re not going to know when you’re tweeting about how hard that homework assignment is or get your text reading “OMG number 12 is impossible!”

But by doing your work the old-fashioned way, in class, they will see when your hand is raised.

I know, this is groundbreaking information, please take a moment to let it sink in and read on.

So we’re all doing work-related work at work now. Alright, that’s a good start.

And now, it’s time for me to completely switch gears and tell you that some of those technological applications mentioned earlier – facebook and twitter – can be used to a students’ advantage, especially if you get your teachers on board.

Think about it, forget what page the assignment’s on, go to Mr. or Mrs. Teacher’s twitter account, where assignment reminders are posted daily. Deadlines can be put on there, or on facebook as a status, as well.

Group assignments can be coordinated from a computer without students having to dig out a phone book to find a number, or call 20 others to get a group members’ phone number. If everyone is on the same social networking site (twitter is the one I am most familiar with), there’s no e-mail wait time or forwarding. Here’s an example how it can work. We’ll say this is a week before the “big” project is due:

john45: We should prob get together tomorrow, work on assign.

3_sarah_83 @ john45: Can’t tomorrow, cheerleading practice.

john45 @ 3_sarah_3: What about Wednesday?

coolestmanever: Wed. would be better, don’t have to work that night.

3_sarah_3: Everyone good with Wednesday, in the library after school?

john45 @ 3_sarah_3 @ coolestmanever @ personwhohasnttweetedyet: After school Wed., in the lib. good for all?

personwhohasnttweetedyet: yes, I’ll bring my notes, everyone else should too!

Now for some, this may seem foreign, but in a matter of minutes, everyone can figure out when the group will meet and a student even reminded everyone to bring whatever notes on the project they have taken. The students could have taken it a step further and told everyone to work on a certain aspect of the assignment, but let’s applaud their common sense approach at using the latest trend for school work (even though it’s all made up).

Don’t forget, that while you’re tweeting about that assignment, you can still keep up on what aplusk (Ashton Kutcher) and arenacindy (the Arenac County Independent) are doing. That’s pretty cool.

Alright, so you’re doing your homework at school when you have time and resources (teacher, smart kids if you’re allowed to work together), which in turn is opening up your evenings for more good times with your buds.

You’ve even got your math teacher and history teacher tweeting assignments and deadlines, with the math one occasionally tweeting hints for math problems. Not too mention you yourself are tweeting with celebrities and project partners simultaneously, getting more done in less time.

It’s going to be a great year!

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