Engage Students Better with these Ways to Use Technology

Nov

4

2016

 

For a very long time, education was one of the very few fields that were unwilling to recognize the potential of technology and refused to implement it, opting to stick to old teaching methods instead. While that tactic might have been successful for some time, once technology started being adopted more and more by every other domain out there, it was obvious that it cannot be ignored anymore, and thus started the technology race in schools. Education institutions are finally ready to embrace technology and make the most of it, but it essentially all comes down to how well the teachers can make use of technology in the classroom. If you’re a teacher, here’s how to engage students better with these ways to use technology.

Record experiments and group tasks

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Students like to see their work lead to a visible result, so instead of just having them present an assignment, perform an experiment or complete a task, ask them to document their process as well by recording it and creating a work log. This will keep them motivated throughout the process, allow them to remember each step better, and, once it’s all done, have an actual result that they can share with others. Such videos can also be exchanged between classes or groups so they can compare themselves to others in a healthy competitive way.

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There are numerous was of teaching a class, and the less conventional one will always be the one that keeps students engaged. This is where technology jumps in to your help – get creative with it. For example, instead of just using a projector to present some events or data, why not record yourself in an innovative way? You could create a mock-up recording that has a few facts wrong, and when running it in class, you can argue with it in a funny way. Back in high school we had a professor do just that, and his lessons were the most educational and entertaining ones by far, so take it from someone who actually experienced this first-hand – it works!

Take Technology Out of the Classroom

Technology can be fun in the classroom, but it can be even more fun outside of it. Field trips are a very good example of this – they are already fun activities that students usually look forward to, but technology can greatly enhance them and make them even more educational. Consider spontaneous short assignments such as having them record some video reviews or presentations of certain visited objectives, require them to take short interviews or simply have them take some selfies in those locations for a later project – everything that implies having them to use their smartphones, tablets or laptops counts.

Use Social Media In and Outside of School

Social media is one of the main causes of in-class distraction for students, so why not get clever and turn it all around? Used right, social media can be a great engagement tool.

Setting up a class blog where everyone can contribute with something is a great first step, but don’t take all the fun of it – sure, the primary aim should be an educational one, but don’t forget that social media is a means of entertainment, so don’t take that element out of it. Consider creating a category for fun stuff (cat videos are a must-have!), and maybe even a corner for non-school-related stuff like celebrity news, entertainment, and everything else your students might be interested in.

Another creative use for social media would be a twitter challenge – dare your students to summarize a lesson or concept in a tweet. It’s a fun and educational way of integrating an element they use in their free time into their education.

Keep Everyone Engaged

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In a well-functioning educational environment, everyone needs to be engaged: teachers, students and parents. If only one of these three fail to become sufficiently engaged, it will likely affect the others as well.  Luckily, technology saves the day again, making significantly easier than ever before to keep everyone in the loop, thanks to school management software. Teachers can easily see a student’s whole situation in one glimpse, students can see their grades, schedule and exams in one place, parents can keep track of their children – it’s all there.

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