Toward More Interactive Learning

In previous blog entries, I’ve pondered ideas about how to become a more connected teacher and how to start incorporating more technology into my classroom. These ponderings have led me to create some goals for myself. Thus far, my goals have been to use social media to interact with other educators to create a personal learning network, to use more digital media to both engage students and to help them make connections to new concepts, and to encourage students to use technology to demonstrate their learning. As all these ideas continue to form and as I continue to read about educational technology, I’ve run across some interesting ideas about how teachers can make learning more interactive for students.

According to a recent article in eSchoolNews (Broderick, 2015), “to make a real difference, educators have to integrate technology in a meaningful way” in order to connect with today’s student, who readily and easily accesses the internet, plays video games, and connects with peers using various social media platforms. What this means is that teachers should employ methods to make learning more interactive for students. The eSchoolNews article points to three (though I’m sure there are more) ways to do this:

  • Incorporate gamification into lessons – Gamifying lessons takes advantage of students’ enjoyment of video games and competition to engage and involve them to a higher level. Examples of gamification include team competition review games embedded in presentation software (such as, “Jeopardy” as a part of PowerPoint) and “quiz show”-type games that can be accessed as a mobile app on student cell phones. One teacher I found has even developed his own interactive online video game to support curriculum (Check out his blog: http://gamifyingmyclass.com).
  • Make lectures and lessons a two-way conversation – Students engage in communication almost constantly through social media, and the eSchoolNews article points out that students “often have difficulty adjusting to traditional classroom lectures, where they are expected to silently take notes while the instructor speaks.” (Broderick, 2015) To make lectures more interactive, the article suggests teachers include questions into lesson presentations (slides) and to use response technology (clickers, response apps on cell phones) to “give students a voice in the classroom.” (Broderick, 2015) From a teacher’s standpoint, another positive result of this is that student responses to embedded questions act as a formative assessment, checking student understanding of the lesson.
  • Crowdsourcing learning – According to Broderick (2015), crowdsourced learning is essentially a “next step” form of peer instruction in which students “participate in the learning process, communicating with fellow students to explore solutions and formulate responses.” By using student responses previously discussed (See #2 above), the results can be used to “facilitate peer instruction,” which goes further to provide students a voice in the classroom and utilize the “collective knowledge” of the class to improving student learning.

While I admit that I have don’t have the coding skills to create my own game of our math curriculum, I do feel there are suggestions I can take. Because I use presentation software for my daily lessons, I can begin to enhance these lessons by embedding questions that allow for student response (Note to self: Locate classroom set of “clickers.”), I can allow students to respond to results and instruct their peers on any deficiencies, and I can incorporate review games. 

Broderick, M. (2015). 3 ways teachers can make learning more interactive. eSchool News. Retrieved on March 6, 2015 from: http://www.eschoolnews.com/2015/03/05/ideas-interactive-726/2/

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3 thoughts on “Toward More Interactive Learning

  1. Hi Lynn,
    Interesting post. I’m interested in gamification, as well. I wrote a paper on it last term and have worked with a professor at my college who is actually writing a book on it. In her case, she’s actually using low-tech games to engage her developmental education college students, and has gotten great results. (Here’s a link to her engaging presentation at GSummit, if you’re interested. My team did the video! http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=FJQGyYm-C4I). I use some of her low-tech tips and games in my own classes.

    As an alternative to clickers, which, at least in my world are expensive and tend to “walk away,” a teacher friend told me about an website/app called Plickers.com which allows you to do much the same thing using printed cards and the student’s phones. I haven’t had the opportunity to field test it yet, but she really likes it. (And it’s free!)

    I look forward to hearing more about how you’re using tech in your classroom!

    Like

  2. Hi Linn
    I enjoy reading your post.
    In order to get students engaged in learning, we have to formulate strategies that will be educational and fun. Technology will allow students to have fun while learning. I use jeopardy games all the time. Today there are numerous software that allows teachers to create games from all their lessons. This helps to deepen the student’s understanding and also to correct errors in learning.
    A very important point you brought up was making learning a two-way conversation. Today’s classrooms are more student’s centers where there is collaboration amongst peers and teacher. Oftentimes students are afraid to ask questions during teacher lead activities. However, when it is co-operative learning they tend to be more forthcoming with questions, and participate more readily in discussions.

    Like

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