“Meet the students where they are.” I’ve heard and said that phrase numerous times over the last few weeks and it appears to becoming a central part of the teaching and learning dialogue. While some may misinterpret the phrase and believe that it advocates for dumbing down the curriculum or reducing standards, I see it as a call for educators to be more aware of the students with whom they work. We need to understand our students’ learning styles, their culture, their prior knowledge and the tools they use. While many of us might believe that we teach content, we really teach students. If we’re motivated to promote student learning, we as educators need to know a lot about our students and be prepared to meet the students “where they are” educationally.
Besides asking us to be knowledgeable of the students with whom we work, the phrase is also a call for us to incorporate new teaching techniques that can tap into students’ cultural backgrounds and their talents. StudyBoost is one tool that can help educators accomplish this. StudyBoost allows educators and students to create study questions online that can be sent through instant messaging, through text services or even through Facebook. It works like this: A student sets up a free account and then creates some study questions. After setting up their preferred messaging system and scheduling their questioning, the student will start receiving questions. The student can set up their timing specifications so they receive a question every hour or numerous questions through-out the day. They can even set a scheduled cram session right before an exam. The best part is that the questions can be shared with others. This feature allows an educator to create a batch of questions and share with an entire class. StudyBoost is a great way for an educator to “meet their students where they are” and help them interact with content in ways in which they’re familiar. For some help getting started, check out the following video: