How to make education interactive: digital technology, web and creative tips to engage students
Original article by Jenny Beswick (published 17th October, 2013, accessed via: http://memeburn.com/2013/10/how-to-make-education-interactive-digital-technology-web-and-creative-tips-to-engage-students/)
Technology is constantly redefining education, and not only does it provide teachers, parents, and students with a steady stream of new resources it also transforms the way our society stores, processes, and transmits information.
Technologies change the way we think and plays a key role in determining what we think about. As invention gives rise to new branches of knowledge, it drives education in new directions. Past innovations ranging from the codex to the internet have left indelible marks upon the academic world, and there can be no doubt future innovations will continue to alter the face of education in years to come. But as advancements in digital technology accelerate, as they have been in recent years, educators often struggle to implement the latest tech tools into their lessons. Fortunately though, today it is easier than ever to bring digital technology into the classroom and make courses interactive.
Here are some great tips for making your lesson plans more entertaining, engaging, and relevant to students growing up in this digital age:
Video conferencing programs like Skype and iChat are amazing tools for teachers today as they allow students to explore new worlds without leaving the classroom. Teachers can arrange for guest speakers to appear to give short presentations about their jobs as doctors, engineers, or musicians and because they will not need to physically come into the classroom, many professionals will be much more likely to accept the offer and recommend this form of educational teaching to others.
What is also great is video chatting can also connect students with their peers around the world and this interactive fun learning makes well for language lessons. There was an article on Mashable about how video chat is creating a global classroom, this is a good read and it is amazing to know there are 30,000 classroom videoconferencing systems in the USA alone.
Google Earth is undoubtedly the most powerful geography-teaching tool ever invented. By taking students for a digital spin around the world, they can learn about everything from political boundaries to topography, and even take a street view tour of their own schools. So as a teacher think about the wider scope and how it can benefit students in the long run.
Podcasts can make for great supplementary lessons. Assign them for homework and quiz students about them the next day. They are guaranteed to be far more interesting than most traditional homework assignments, will get students digitally active, and can serve as great resources for students with visual impairments.
What student doesn’t love watching a movie in class? YouTube and the countless educational websites online today are great resources for teachers, and can help educator’s present information in exciting and engaging ways. A video, which is a simple example of how video interactive works well in education is available here:
Real time analysis can be produced from your school website. Make sure as a teacher that you know all about the web management of your school – that the website you have has analytics installed. Once you have access to your analytics, you can then enter the real time mode to see exactly what is happening on web page. What you want to do is set up educational class content on a web page, where you have video tutorials that teaches the student away from the classroom, ask your students to visit this page for resources, and you can then track in real time which topics they are visiting and what areas of interest you need to improve your teaching on. The same can be done with YouTube, which has analytics attached to it. Create video content on lessons and monitor how many views you get and the audience it is attracting.
Interactive education games
Gamification is an important new trend in the tech world that has recently inspired a vast range of technologies and software. The idea is that people are highly motivated by technologies that transform mundane tasks into games. Countless programs have been developed in subjects ranging from science to art, which get students excited about learning by presenting them with educational games. Check out the gamification education infographic.
Songs, video clips, PowerPoint presentations, short animations, and high-resolution photographs are great ways to get students engaged with classroom material. Whether students give presentations to their peers or teachers utilize them for their own lessons, multimedia presentations are powerful learning tools. Another great tool is Animoto, sign up to this interactive video making app and website and get the students making presentations through video; it’s fun, creative and educational.
Technology allows educators to make old lessons relevant to a new generation. The use of cutting edge tools in the classroom can also spark passions that lead students to eventually make technological innovations of their own. But perhaps best of all, digital tools simply make it easier for teachers to hold their pupils’ attention. So the benefits of technology are obvious, the only question that remains is why you aren’t using them in your classroom yet.