A teaching method to involve students directly in the process of learning is “active learning”. The “active learning” term was first introduced by an English scholar R W Revans. The general idea of active learning is that students don’t passively listen. Instead, they learn by doing something and participate in the learning process. Active learning takes place when students are experimentally or actively involved with their learning. Students do things and think about what they are doing.
Technology Improves Active Learning
Using technology to communicate, requires students to be in an active role. The students don’t receive information from a teacher, broadcast or textbook. Choices have to be made by the students about how they will get, generate, display or manipulate information. A larger number of students need to actively think about information, execute skills, or make choices than in the lessons of a teacher. Moreover, technology requires students to perform tasks, define their objectives, make decisions and assess their progress. The biggest advantage of technology in the classroom is the promoting of active learning which increases motivation and interest of students.
Technology also changes the teacher’s role. With technology, the teacher becomes a facilitator by providing resources and guidelines and sets goals. The teacher moves from group to group and student to student in order to provide support and suggestions for the activity of the students.
When using technology, the new role of the teacher becomes one in which the teacher stimulates active mental work by the students. Technology-savvy students may also become peer coaches by sharing their knowledge with other students.
5 Ways to Integrate Technology in the Classroom
- Assign students to write an original story and create a presentation of the story using Powerpoint including animation. In history, the story assigned might be a historical fiction story taking place during a historical period recently studied. In geography, the story could take place in a country or area of the world recently studied.
- Assign students to create review games such as “The Weakest Link,” “Jeopardy,” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” using Powerpoint. Templates are available to teachers online for free. Students’ games can be presented and played by the class as a way to review.
Create a Blog or Webpage
- Assign students to create a blog or webpage from the perspective of a character in a book recently read, of a historical period recently studied, of a famous person of today, etc, and create a reward system where students will get something like a T-shirt as reward for their efforts: For younger students, a character from a fairy tale or a fable might be used.
- Assign students to create a “how to” blog or webpage about just about anything such as making a paper airplane, creating a ceramic, solving a math problem, doing magic with water, creating a volcano, building a lava lamp, or finding creatures in the water. Students might use Blogger or WordPress to create their blog.
- Free templates for creating a blog or webpage are available at Wix.com, Blogger templates, and WordPress templates.
A fun way for students to summarize the information they have learned is to have them “tweet” the lesson. In order to tweet the lesson, assign them to write a summary of the lesson in 140 characters or less on Twitter.
Refer to Teach Hub.com for 50 ways to use Twitter in the classroom.
Instead of assigning students to write and send letters to students from another state or country, a teacher can assign students to send an email. If your students and the students they are sending emails to are studying the same things, this can be a valuable exchange.
Students who exchange with video game designers, engineers or astronaut may develop a renewed interest in science.
Writing software can be purchased online. The software’s design is one that will help the student to organize their notes perhaps by using graphic organizers as well as fill in the gaps to pull their story together.
Writing software provides students with guides for developing characters and expand an idea into a story that is worth telling. Writing software will help students to organize their ideas and develop skills in storytelling. The best creative writing software to purchase reviews can be found at “Top 10 Writing Software Reviews”. Free writing software including templates can be found online at WriteWell.
Teachers should embrace technology in their classroom for the following reasons:
- Technology makes learning fun.
- Technology prepares students for their future.
- Technology improves students’ retention rate.
- Technology allows individual students to learn at their own pace.
If you’re a teacher and you haven’t integrated technology into your classroom, it’s time to get started!