Technology in the classroom
Below are examples of ways you can use for technology in the classroom.
1. Integrate Student Input & Gather Feedback
There are many applications that allow students to provide live feedback. A lot of them can be used from smartphones. You can also gather feedback by creating a “back channel” using Twitter.
- Quick, easy Polling Applications: Crowdsignal and PollEverywhere are two of many applications that make it quick and easy to create simple polls that can let you gather feedback from students – determine if they are struggling with a topic, if they know the correct answers to questions you ask, and so on. They can often participate in these polls using a smartphone.
- Take it up a notch with Socrative: Socrative is a powerful free app that lets you go well beyond simple polls to more elaborate quizzes, or just use it to gather quick and easy feedback. Learn more here.
- Twitter: Twitter is a great way to gather input by creating an easy to use ‘backchannel’. This is great for students with smartphones (they will need the Twitter app and an account). Simply create a unique hashtag and have students post feedback to Twitter using that hashtag.
2. Make It a Game
Leveraging gaming mechanics that can make learning more fun is probably easier than you think. Any time you bring competition or levels of achievement to a classroom exercise, you’re adding an element of ‘gamification'. For a simple example, You could have students search through an interactive computer history timeline for specific facts. The first student to correctly identify a fact (like “what was the first computer virus”) that I had them seek out “won” for that question! Of course, gamification can be leveraged in much richer ways ie Kahoot!.
3. Let Students Create
There are so many fun free tools and apps available today that can let students create all kinds of awesome digital content. Below is diversified set of different article and resources that share different tools and ideas for students (and teachers) to create digital content – presentations, interactive digital posters, eBooks, videos, and more.
- PowToon – a Powerful Free Tool for Creating Awesome Animated Presentations
- Unleashing Creativity with iBooks Author (Video) (note: this is specific to the Mac).
4. Get Interactive
Many teachers enjoy using interactive tools with their students. Here’s a few tools and ideas to consider.
- Online Interactive White Boards: Did you know that there are several good free interactive whiteboards available online? If you have a computer and a projector, you can make them work a lot like a “smart board”. Some of these applications even allow students to log on online and collaboratively edit content. Check out these 7 Online IWBs.
- Twiddla (http://www.twiddla.com)
- Megascopes' Whiteboard (http://whiteboard.megascopes.com)
- Groupboard (http://www.groupboard.com)
- Scribblar (http://scribblar.com)
- AWW Board (https://awwapp.com/)
- Zite Board (https://ziteboard.com/)
- Web Whiteboard (https://www.webwhiteboard.com/)
- Interactive apps that work with Smartphones: Many of the tools mentioned here work on smartphones! Below are some of the best interactive apps to use with your smartphone.
- Kahoot! - Kahoot is probably the most well known example of a live edtech game. Kahoot engages students. Moreover, it’s competitive. That’s what students like. They want to win.
- Poll Everywhere - Poll Everywhere is a voting system, completely reinvented! As a teacher, you have to set up a question on the web interface or smartphone app. Students can see it on their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
- Google Classroom - With Google Classroom, you can invite your students to join your course. Within this course or lesson group, you can start a conversation with your students, ask a question, make an announcement or give an assignment.
- Bounceapp - You can review, notate, and share any web page with Bounceapp. Just paste a web page address into the “app” and it turns it into an interactive screenshot where students can jot ideas.
5. Have Students Collaborate
Getting students to work together as partners, in small groups, or maybe even as one large group, teaches them about team work. Collaborative work can be fun. It is even possible to collaborate with students across the world thanks to many of today’s technologies.
Here are a number of tools and techniques for classroom collaborations.
- Share writing and encourage feedback with Linkr: Linkr is a free tool that lets teachers set up their students with a private area where they can write about selected subjects. You can enables them to share what their write with just their classmates, or with the larger audience of students from across the world using Linkr. Students can then provide feedback on other students’ writings.
- Collaborative Document Editing with Google Drive (drive.google.com): Google Drive lets you share and collaboratively edit Google Docs with anyone else who has a Google account, for free. This is a powerful capability.
- Collaborative Mind Mapping with MindMeister (mindmeister.com): This applications lets users easily create mind maps that can be edited collaboratively.
- Collaborative Research: Working in pairs or small groups to find, assess, summarize, and present content in specific topic areas make for a great learning experience and assignment.
6. Project Based Learning
When students apply what they are learning to projects that they undertake, the topics they are learning about can take on a much deeper meaning. Not only does the activity and the increased sensory exposure of project work help to stimulate the mind, the extended time often required of project work, and the visible, tangible results further reinforce learning.
Here are two excellent resources for further exploration of PBL from TeachThought.com:
Simulations can be a powerful addition to the classroom. Since they tend to be somewhat complicated, they are typically suited towards high school, college, or post-graduate or professional studies. Here are some examples of simulations being used in education:
- Economics: This site, Economic-Games.com, offers free online classroom games for teaching economics.
- Marketing: Have you ever wished you could give your Marketing students the chance to practice different e-marketing skills and techniques? Check out Simbound.
- Medical: Simulations have been a significant teaching and learning tool in the medical field for many years. Harvard Medical School has even created a web site focused on their use of Simulations.
- Business: Business Simulation Games are a great way to bring active, applied learning into Business courses.