The classroom that I’ve been apart of so far is an eighth-grade classroom at Hathaway Brown middle school. Hathaway Brown is an all-girls school, which plays an important role in how the students interact with each other, their teacher, and myself. From observing their interactions so far, the students seem very laid back inside of the classroom. They all seem fairly comfortable, and each student has her own group of friends that she sits by. Almost everyone participates in class, and there is a lot of friendly communication going on before and after, as well as during class. Outside of their friend groups that they sit by, they don’t interact much with any of the other students. I find it really interesting because the class is comprised of around fifteen students, and there are five distinct groups that have formed. They talk to each other, walk in together, and help each other out during class, but don’t interact with any other student.
Ms. Renee Van De Motter is my cooperating teacher, and she does a great job in class. She really engages her students and holds them accountable for their own learning. For the most part, all of the students in class sit upright, and are attentive to what she is teaching. An emphasis in class is for students to lead the discussion, she will ask if there were any homework problems that anyone struggled with, and she’ll go over them at the beginning of class. She never gives any student a direct answer to a problem that they have a question too, as instead, she will try to point them in the right direction and allow that student to finish the problem on their own with her guidance in mind. The students all seem to get along with her well, and they definitely participate in class, which is essential for her teaching style.
Ms. Van De Motter’s classroom is dependent on the use of technology. She uses a white board and a projector to do all of the math work, as well as using it for class and lecture notes. Each student has their own iPad, which they all use to take notes and complete worksheets and homework problems. The students really excel in using this technology, and Ms. Van De Motter does as well. The technology is used flawlessly inside of her classroom, and it allows her and her students to go back to past notes and examples, as well as providing a means of completing homework every night.
The students that I have talked to are well-versed in social media. Many of them have the main three, in my opinion – Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter. Not every student is on social media, but four of the six students that I talked to expressed that they use social media daily.
The small group size of the class that I touched on earlier is aligned with the small group dynamics that we have discussed in regard to digital storytelling in class. I believe that this class would benefit from digital storytelling, as although the use of technology is present in class every day, it isn’t uniquely used in a way that a chalkboard and textbook couldn’t be used in a similar manner. Some of the students in class seem bored to be in a math class at the end of the day, so I believe that digital storytelling could help enhance the learned of those students by helping them to understand the implications and connections of what they are learning. The pedagogical implications for implementing digital storytelling and multimodal composition into a classroom such as this, would be that digital storytelling and multimodal composition are simply tools that can enhance the pedagogy of a teacher. In no way are digital storytelling and multimodal composition vital to success for students in the classroom, but they might help out a student or a few, who, especially in a math classroom, might be struggling to pay attention or keep their attention or focus during class. These are tools at a teacher’s disposal that could relate to any lesson of any day of the week, and that adaptability is what makes digital storytelling that much of a factor in a pedagogical aspect. Simply put, digital storytelling is like a good car insurance company (if one exists). It’s there for you when you need it, so use it when needed.