Using technology in the classroom can be a great way to engage your students, especially in the 21st century when technology seems to be everywhere! Nonetheless, incorporating digital devices appropriately and innovatively into lesson plans can be a challenge amidst the statutory academic requirements. Do you agree?
We propose seven simple ways you can use technology creatively in the classroom, to motivate and inspire your student by bringing learning alive with technology.
Videos are a diverse resource offering visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning opportunities.
Basic use of videos includes:
- Academic content you may not be able to view from the classroom e.g. snowy mountain tops or dangerous chemical experiments.
- Supporting a language lesson e.g. songs or lessons made by teachers who speak the language fluently.
- Songs or rhymes to help students remember difficult academic knowledge e.g. The Periodic Table song.
Videos can also be exploited in more imaginative ways, such as:
- Daily classroom exercise routines e.g. Move to Learn Fitness Break.
- Students recording educational videos to teach other students (for internal use only)
- Timer/music to encourage students to pack away and tidy the classroom quickly e.g. Mission Impossible Countdown Timer.
- Virtual field trips – collections of videos designed to explore different industries, exclusive locations or abstract concepts without leaving the classroom e.g. Microsoft Education Virtual Field Trips (click the image below to see for yourself).
2) 3D maps
Online 3D maps, such as Google Maps, can be utilized in the classroom to show students any location around the world and experience virtual tours in places they may never visit. This interactive and authentic encounter aims to inspire students to explore the wider world and stimulate their enthusiasm for learning.
3) Digital Literacy
Ebooks provide an excellent resource for encouraging students of all abilities to read books. Not only can the technology adapt to meet student’s unique needs, including different text sizes and auditory elements, but the novelty of using a mobile device can motivate less enthusiastic students.
Digital Storytelling also offers a creative literacy activity, as students plan and then create their own stories using photos and videos. This interactive learning style helps develop student’s literacy, teamwork and imaginative capabilities, as them embark on creating a unique digital narrative. Software such as Apple iMovie or Windows Movie Maker are simple to use and can be easily exported into different formats on the computer.
Creating a class blog presents a modernistic way to encourage students in their creative writing, as they share work online which can be viewed by other class members, their school and students across the world. By displaying work from students with various abilities and about diverse subject areas the blog can create a positive online community, where individuals enjoy reading work written by other students as well as feeling happy to contribute themselves. Additionally, this can generate connections with schools in different districts or states as students share their work together, and may inspire teachers in their lesson planning and classroom practices.
Video calling provides an exclusive means through which students can engage in authentic learning experiences by conversing with people from all over the world. Examples include: skyping students in other countries to learn about their different school experiences and interviewing people in various professions to understand their role in more detail (e.g. archaeologist or scientist). This real-life encounter takes student learning beyond a textbook and endorses an exciting whole-class learning opportunity (click the image below to find out more).
Mobile devices can be utilized in the classroom to facilitate investigations or Webquests exploring various topic areas. Students can research a chosen subject on the internet (from a given resource list); gather data in tables, photos or videos; and present the results in an interesting digital format. This interactive activity not only heightens skills in communication, cooperation and critical thinking but is enjoyable for students, as they are authorized to use technology autonomously to explore a topic of their interest.
Assessments often have negative connotations for teachers and students, but with innovative edtech this perspective can be altered. Products such as Quizalize allow teachers to create unique assessment content in a quiz format which aligns with curriculum learning objectives, and can be accessed by every student in the class. This educational yet innovative assessment procedure aims to captivate students attention and make testing less tedious.
Moreover, the process of collating students’ data can also be an arduous task for teachers, but by implementing software like Zzish, for example, the results from online quizzes can be accessed in real-time and provide instant insight into student learning gaps. This improves the assessment procedure for both teachers and students as the tests themselves are less mundane and the comprehensive data dashboards augment personalized classroom teaching.
Teachers may perceive using technology in the classroom as a challenge, however, this article presents a collection of simple yet creative ways for teachers to effectively incorporate technology into their lesson plans.
How do you feel about using technology in the classroom? Have you got any inspirational ideas you want to share? Add a comment below, we’d love to hear from you.