Teacher uses characters to spice up online learning

Julia Distler, Of The Talon staff

From Fitness Fred to Gametime Gary, industrial technology teacher Mike Brown is finding new ways to get his students’ attention every class.

Getting students’ attention during this new process of online learning can be difficult for teachers. However, Brown found a way that gets students excited and eager to go to class. It started with Fitness Fred teaching students how to measure exercise equipment, then Carpenter Matt showing the ins and outs of construction safety, helping Hurricane Harry stay safe from the storm using math related techniques, and most recently, Gametime Gary shooting baskets each time a student explained a math problem correctly. Brown said that, for him, doing the characters is vital in the new learning environment.

“I wanted to start doing the characters to help establish a fun online learning environment. It is certainly challenging to learn online, it can be stressful, and laughter can help reduce the stress,” Brown said.

Though these characters don’t change the fact that school is still online, it can make class more enjoyable and less stressful. Brown said that although he was excited to try out these new characters, he was also a bit nervous that the students wouldn’t get anything out of it.

“This was all my idea, I wasn’t sure if students would like it or not but I figured at least Mrs. Piepho would get a kick out of it. This was my first year doing characters, they are just for making online learning fun but I may bring them back when we are all back in person,” Brown said.

Despite Brown’s concerns, many students love the characters and the amount of effort and care Brown put into them. Sophomore Matt Bye said Brown’s gesture of trying to make online learning more fun for students makes him like the characters more.

“The thing I like best about his characters is the amount of effort he puts into them. The characters make class more interesting because the math problems that go along with the characters are more difficult,” Bye said.