Since my app was based around increasing student engagement and integrating student interest into the classroom, I chose to ask the following questions to my interviewees:
- How and where do you see the interests students bring to their classrooms?
- In what ways do you see teachers connecting these interests to academics pursuits and curricular goals?
- How do you mostly use your phone? To connect with people? To create something new? To play?
The first person interviewed was a high school student, and we met in person.
Q1: I don’t really see many interests in my classes. I think that people have different learning types, and since we have such large classrooms, its hard to get really personalized interests into the class. I think it would be more valuable if interests were used in class.
Q2: I don’t know, I think the big problem is just that classes are so big, that its hard to individualize things, maybe if there were fewer students or more teachers. (after I mentioned that choice is a way to incorporate interests) I guess in English, we have choices on which book to read sometimes.
Q3: I mostly use my phone to keep up with friends, mostly on Instagram or Snapchat.
The second person interviewed was a current high school teacher, which also took place in person.
Q1: I notice that they like to do things that are more collaborative, and that integrates technology. They really like any activities we do that are technology centered. They talk about the games and apps that they recommend I download. I also pick up on their interests just from hearing them talk with each other.
Q2: Teachers try to utilize these interests by integrating technology a lot. There are more activities that touch on diverse learning styles, as opposed to lecturing. This approach acknowledges that there is more than one way to teach the same information. So your interest can be beyond just the content, but in how a subject is taught can influence your motivation to ‘buy-in’.
Q3: To connect mostly, I use social media like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat help me keep in touch with people I know.
The final person interviewed was also a current high school teacher, and this interview was completed over the phone.
Q1: I think student interest is not seen very much in classrooms. Curriculum is driven so much by state standards and testing that there isn’t as much wiggle room as there should be. I think the most common way student interest is seen is when students volunteer information to the class, but that can be very hit or miss.
Q2: I do think teachers try to connect in any way they can. Especially in subjects like history, there are more opportunities to connect to areas of interest. As a math teacher, I don’t see nearly as many opportunities, since curriculum can be rigid. The ‘real life’ examples in math class can come across a little forced, so I really pick my spots. Whenever I create a test or quiz, I try to incorporate names and places the students know, so I guess that can count.
Q3: I use my phone for calls and email. I play scrabble with my brother-in-law from time to time, but not too much more than that.
Based on these answers, it seems that the most useful app would be one that is social media based, since most people are using similar apps already. I think the familiarity is key in creating new products when there are so many different options available. I think that my app might fill a need for the student I interviewed, as well as one of the teachers I spoke to, since they both mentioned different ways time and energy are finite resources in classrooms. Using the app would be unobtrusive to the current curriculum, but could provide a spark of inspiration for teachers and students. I really like how the second interviewee mentioned the power of ‘buy-in’ from students, as this was a motivating force for my app.