Monday, March 26, 2007

Getting to Know Your Students

This photo of my colleague Mohammad Shanehsaz was created from an application call Photo Booth, available out-of-the-box on any Apple computer. The 10 minutes Mohammad and I spent playing with Photo Booth got us to thinking "How could we use this in the classroom?" It came to use at the same instant - an icebreaker. An icebreaker is a simple activity or exercise that helps to break down the student-teacher and student-student barriers. Breaking down these barriers is critical to engaging students and providing for a rich, dynamic learning environment.

Here's the idea - First day of class, show up with a Mac laptop and a projector. In addition to the routine discussion of syllabus, grading policy, contact info and on and on ... have each student come to the front of the class and capture their likeness in Photo Booth - with you and the rest of the class watching and participating. Limit how long they have, but encourage them to explore the right side of their brain and create an "interesting" image. What you end up with is funny photos of each of your students, that will help you to remember their names (e.g. a semester seating chart) and help your student begin building a community.

In fairness to Mohammad, here's a picture of me (didn't know my forehead was that big - pretty scary!):


Karl Kapp said...


I don't get it where is the enhancement to the photos? You guys look normal to me...

Just kidding, a great idea to use something like this as an icebreaker.

It would help get students talking and focusing on technology and help them to quickly learn a new piece of software.

Mike Qaissaunee said...

Karl - unfortunately it does seem like my forehead is getting bigger and bigger.


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