I sometimes feel like a lunatic, working late hours on materials and lesson plans, trying new apps and programs that seem like they are bound to fail, and giving new ideas a shot in my classroom. Sometimes I’m wildly successful and other times I fall short. That’s how it works. I love trying new things, though, no matter how many times I fail. For me, it’s worth it to discover the key to my students’ interest and enthusiasm for what I’m teaching. I’m working for that moment when I find a portal from the boring to the captivating.
One such portal for me and my students was Nearpod. Nearpod opened the door for me to see what was out there in terms of engaging students with their tablets and smartphones. I was able to take devices that were often forbidden in the language classroom and make them the medium through which we were learning. I tried multiple lessons in multiple classes and my students unanimously agreed that they wanted to continue using the app in class. I continued to explore its uses as an in-class tool and as a homework tool, by which students could remain engaged and tuned in to the course work while on the go.
I presented on this topic at the 2014 MITESOL conference and was recently informed that I was awarded the MITESOL top presenter award. Additionally, I have been nominated to the 2016 TESOL International Best of Affiliates award. If I am a finalist for this prestigious award (meaning I was chosen from over 100 affiliate organizations), I will then be asked to present my work along with the 7 other finalists at the international TESOL convention.
That’s not at all terrifying, right?
Last year Michigan’s own Patrick T. Randolph won this international honor. Congratulations, Patrick! I have had the pleasure of attending one of Patrick’s talks, and he is a phenomenal speaker who gives a dynamic presentation.
I would never put myself in the same category as Patrick, and I’m shocked to be representing Michigan in this capacity. I have submitted two proposals to TESOL this year, so hopefully I will be accepted to present regardless of how I fare in the affiliates competition. I hope to see you there!