“I want my students to use technology for more than taking selfies and sending texts.”
Words from Shaker High School math teacher, Mark Kaercher, who recently was asked by Google to write a blog post on his innovative teaching and learning practices. The blog was posted on “Google for Education,” which currently has more than 1.2 million followers.
“During my career, I have always worked to improve,” writes Kaercher. “I never wanted to be that teacher who just recycles what he/she did the previous year.”
After teaching for 20 years and being named a NYS Master Teacher by Governor Cuomo, recycling old work is hardly what Kaercher is doing. Instead, he has transformed his method of instruction, working to find the balance between the digital and traditional world, realizing that students still need to take standardized assessments.
Kaercher’s recognition by Google began with a simple tweet, following a presentation by his students to the North Colonie Board of Education, about their use of GeoGebra, a graphing calculator for geometry, algebra, calculus, statistics and 3D math.
Soon after, Kaercher received an email from Stephen Jull, the Chief Operating Officer of GeoGebra, who saw the tweet. In the chain of email correspondence that followed, Jull included members of the Google for Education team.
Jull, whose company is based out of the UK, said they were looking for a teacher who uses GeoGebra in combination with Google products, like Android, Chromebook, Drive and Classroom to write a blog about how he or she uses GeoGebra in the daily classroom workflow.
“Mark is new on our go-to-list for GeoGebra innovation in the United States,” wrote Jull. “We like to highlight great teaching in the math community. When it also overlaps with the work of our colleagues at Google (Microsoft and others) then we like to let them know too. It helps us all improve our software and services to meet the needs of the workflow of students.”
Kaercher says he has been using Geogebra for a few years, but now that he has a class set of Chromebooks, he uses it often.
“Originally, I would use Geogebra as a demo tool by creating files and sharing them with the students. Now I have the students creating their own files and sharing screenshots through Google Classroom. My students have really embraced the use of Geogebra with Google Classroom.”
Kaercher says using Geogebra and Google has changed his instruction for the better.
“I have stated to my students, colleagues, and administrators that I am not just a math teacher. I see myself also as a technology teacher. GeoGebra and Google have allowed my students to interact with mathematics in a whole new way.” Click here to read Kaercher’s blog.