Using EdTech To Get Your Learners Motivated and Active!
Learning by using technology can be fun, productive, educational, and can engage all types of learners, regardless of their ages! Younger students can be motivated to learn through active games, programs, and apps. Older students can be motivated through the use of interactive projects with groups or individually, or viewing media. iPads now being provided by many public schools have a wide variety of apps for student learning that include opportunities for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) learning. Regardless of the age of the student, technology, if used correctly, can provide students the perfect supplement to traditional style classroom learning.
Many professionals, educators, and researchers have reported the benefit of using technology in and outside the classroom to improve learning. According to the Office of Ed Tech, learning by using technology in a group of two or more can be very beneficial. The Office of Ed Tech, part of the US Department of Education, reports that when working with young learners, in particular, it is important to work with them side by side when engaging technology or watching media. By sitting with a young learner, we are able to ask them questions about what they are doing, viewing, and learning. We are asking our young learners to not only engage with the technology by also with their educators and peers. Of course, the Office of Ed Tech also notes that too much time in front of a screen, an app, or other device is not ideal for young learners. Children should still be encouraged to engage in forms of play suitable to the child’s age, as play is also a healthy part of a child’s development.
Learning Through Games and Online Resources
Not every technology, resource, or app requires students to be sitting still and not moving. There are many apps that you can use in the classroom to incorporate active learning into your lessons. https://quizlet.com/mission is one program that allows students to become engaged in active learning. Quizlet, used by millions of learners from across 130 countries, gives students practice questions, and students can learn through online quizzes and games. Other websites such as http://www.elllo.org/english/Mixer.htm offer online quizzes in many subject areas for a wide variety of learners. If you are offering your students a “mind break,” and have a rainy day, try releasing their energy through programs on the Wii, such as Wii Fit. Another highly recommended online game to get students active and moving is Kahoot! Kahoot, as described by EdSurgeNews, is an excellent resource for students of all ages. Teachers can also find more ideas for active learning on social medias sites such as pinterest.com and viewing boards on teaching materials such as the one available at https://www.pinterest.com/allisonnier/active-learning/.
iPads are possibly becoming one of the most popular resources for games and learning inside and outside the classroom. iPads are slowly popping up in classrooms across the country as resources for teachers in the classroom; they can be used as tools in the classroom, and many low-cost or free apps are available to student learning. For example, according to Willow Becker, Hopscotch, is a free app that encourages learning about technology and coding for students in grades 4 to 6. Willow Becker also mentions that there are many free apps now available to teachers included and not limited to NASA Visualization Explorer for all ages, Get the Math for middle and high school students, Earth-Now Jet Propulsion Laboratory App for students in grades 5 to 12, and DIY Nano for ages K-5. Many programs are available not only on iPads but also online if your school does not have access to iPads.
The Classroom of the Future
Whether your students are working individually or in a group, technology can be used daily in our classrooms as a way to enhance learning. Regardless of the types of technology that you have available to you, there is something for everyone. Teachers can use online programs that allow them to develop their own Jeopardy questions, or they can present materials in the form of visual media. For older learners, Ted Talks can be a great way to introduce a topic, and launch a classroom discussion. From discussions about global warming to ancient history to equal opportunities for students, Ted Talks are an excellent way to engage your learners and encourage them to think for themselves and develop their own opinions. There is something for everyone in the classroom of the future, whether it be free or low-cost iPads and games, the Wii, or online quizzes and games such as the ones found on Quizlet and Ello, there are endless learning materials available at a range of costs for every level student.