Keeping education fun and engaging can be an uphill battle at times, especially so when the subject matter might not be the most captivating, or the course materials are a little stale and outdated. Incorporating technology in the classroom can bring about new and exciting ways to learn, whilst also giving students a new found spark for the subject at hand.
We all remember looking at the same old books in school and feeling uninspired – books often bearing the graffiti of past students who weren’t engaged in the lesson at hand. On the other side of this we also remember the teachers who made lessons more interactive and therefore fun, and it’s often those subjects that stick with us the most. With the introduction of technology into classrooms it’s now easier than ever before to make lessons interactive, fun and engaging just like our favourite teachers from yesteryear did. To help spark some lesson planning creativity here are 10 ways of using technology in the classroom to inspire you:
Gamification of the most mundane tasks can take them from boring to addictive in a matter of minutes. For example The Sims takes the banality of everyday life and makes it an addictive game whereby you can unlock life skills. This gamification can also be brought to the classroom too – teaching students to type faster by using typing games or honing their researching skills by hunting out clues within mystery games.
The introduction of technology within classrooms has led to new levels of creativity within students which can be harnessed to also further their knowledge on a subject. Encouraging students to showcase their work in a way that suits their creative style will help them gather a greater sense of understanding of the subject, but also their individuality. Creative content can range from simple blogs and eBooks through to video or animation.
School trips are a valuable tool for helping students to learn, however they can be a nightmare to arrange or as we have seen during the pandemic there may be restrictions on travel. This doesn’t mean that your students have to miss out though, as many places now offer virtual tours or virtual learning days. For example, NASA offers several ways to enjoy their museums virtually, they even have an augmented reality experience that can be accessed via their app. If you’re looking for a more interactive school trip check out Facebook as places such as Chester Zoo host Facebook Live sessions teaching their audience all about the animals and our planet.
Encouraging students to create their own quizzes for their peers will not only help them to research the subject, but add in the element of gamification for the other students too. Students can utilise Google Forms or Kahoot for their quizzes, or ‘buzzers for a more game show style quiz.
Presentations can be pretty boring stuff – we have all had to sit through our fair share of yawn inducing slideshows. Now imagine how presentations can come across to a room full of young minds… not the most engaging content for them. By using technology within your slideshows you can engage the audience and keep their focus on the subject. Here are some simple ways to spruce up your slideshows with some fun and grab your students attention:
We can’t all be masters of every subject we teach, so encouraging your students to seek out experts in a subject field can help to further their learning. Podcasts are a quick and simple way for students to delve deeper into subjects or find a show that fits their learning style. You can also use podcasts for digital content creation and ask students to make their own podcast – from the content structure to recording and editing.
There are many different types of technology in the classroom that are available, one of the more basic being access to video calling. Apps such as Skype, Google Hangouts and even FaceTime mean we can connect with anyone around the world in an instant. The ability to bring in guests on subjects can break up lessons whilst also offering a unique insight into certain subjects. The use of video calling doesn’t just have to be for traditional learning, it can be a great way to connect with the local community too and virtually volunteer – for example buddying students with residents of a local retirement home.
Simulations can help students to process and reinforce the knowledge they have learned and put this into ‘real-life’ practice. Simulations are often more suited towards business study, for example economics or marketing. There are lots of apps and sites out there that host simulations, or you can create your own scenarios and encourage students to use technology to work through them.
Think Pokemon Go but with increased educational value. The premise is similar to a traditional scavenger hunt, but brought into the modern day via QR codes. Students can add an app to their phone that scans QR codes, with each QR code containing a question that leads to the next code. These can be placed around the school grounds and students can work in teams to help solve the puzzles.
Encouraging students to review web pages will help in their research skills as they discern whether information presented on the web pages is factual, and if not what is the truth of the subject. This will also skill students with the power to question information that is presented as fact in their everyday lives, not just an educational setting. The information they learn can then be presented back to the class by using multimedia slideshows, or in other forms of creative digital content.
There are many ways we can make learning even more fun, it’s all down to finding what works best for your students and the subject at hand. Trialing new ways might not always work for your classroom, but the fun is in trying, right?