Using Free Apps to Create Virtual Learning Experiences
The reason that many teachers strive for a more virtual experience instead of the traditional talking points is that the interaction makes the lesson more memorable to the students. Concepts and ideas that seem too complicated under time-honored instruction methods are easier to grasp when the students can experience the lessons. This does not mean that you need a VR machine to create a virtual experience either. There are a number of tools that can help you establish a virtual environment that makes lessons more entertaining while making the concepts easier to understand.
One of the biggest problems with edtech is the price tag – it can be incredibly cost prohibitive. However, that does not mean that you and your students have to be relegated to using only the old learning methods. Regardless of your budget, you can use free apps to create a virtual learning experience that will make lessons feel more relevant.
There are many apps that let you take your students out into the world without having to leave the classroom. You can teach botany and biology with apps that help identify the living things around you. There is also an app for reporting invasive plant species to help get the plants under control before they take over new areas. There are math and science games to help students practice what they have learned. Perhaps one of the things at which apps excel is in the helping of languages.
You need to be careful since there are many language apps that may offer very little value. It will require you to spend time working with the apps before you can open them up for students to use, but it can make a significant contribution to how well students learn and remember concepts, particularly concepts that are more theoretical or complex in nature. Apps can allow you to apply concepts in a way that can emphasize and correctly give students the one on one time that most teachers cannot provide on a daily basis.
Then there are apps that allow you to go outside and experience the world through augmented reality (the most notable being Pokémon Go, although it is probably not the best app to use for education). Augmented reality gives your students a way of connecting to the lesson. This not only engages them more than conventional lessons do, but it also makes the lesson more memorable as they have a frame of reference based on things they see overlapped with the real world.
Creating an environment that is more obviously tied to the world makes many of the points you want to make much more obvious to your students. When they cannot understand what is meant by a hypotenuse, a simulation can help them get a vivid idea of the hypotenuse and why it is important. Mobile devices make it considerably easier to bring a virtual approach to any classroom, as long as you are willing to do the necessary research and testing before you present it to your students.