Engaging Students with Technology in the Classroom

When used effectively, technology plays an important role in enhancing the learning process, engaging students... Even with all of the benefits of technology in the classroom, however, educators must use caution to ensure that students are focusing on the lesson and not giving in to distractions. Jeff Dunn writes for Eduemic, May 5, 2012. 1. Encourage direct engagement. One of the benefits of technology is that students can interact with and learn from lesson materials directly rather than waiting for a passive transfer of information. This hands-on approach to learning helps recall of key ideas.

2. Ask for more particpation.

Technology has made in-class participation easier than ever. With tools like Flow using Kinect-type technology, teachers can encourage even students who do not normally participate in class discussions to share their opinions. Rather than distracting students, used this way, technology gives them a reason to focus and think deeply about what they are learning.

3. Delve into a topic.

Students learn better when they are more engaged with the material and are encouraged to make it their own. Teachers can assign students to complete technology-based projects, including making presentations, analyzing data, and sharing ideas. Technology in the classroom makes this type of learning both easier and faster.

4. Make use of online resources in class.

The great thing about the internet is that there is a whole host of information out there about almost everything. Teachers can find webinars, videos, podcasts, photos, and industry information about topics that students are interested in and present them in class.

5. Assign research topics.

Have students prepare for an upcoming lesson or activity by allowing them to research the topic beforehand using the internet. Teachers can take the opportunity to discuss where to find reliable information online as well as how to synthesize that information into a usable format. When presenting the lesson in class, the students will be more prepared to answer questions and delve deeply into the topic.

6. Use real-world problems.

Older students, especially, appreciate learning about real-life situations and current events. Instructors can encourage students to use technology to research current stock market trends, for example, or to find out information about political campaigns. This knowledge can then be applied to topics that students are studying in class to show them how what they are learning in school has use in a broader context.

7. Review what they've learned.

Technology can also be used as a way that students can review and remember what they have learned over the course of a semester or other period of time. Students may record a video of themselves, for example, listing key facts about a particular subject or explaining that topic to other students. The recitation of these ideas helps students to process what they have learned.

Of course, technology only enhances what excellent instructors do already by giving students increased access to learning materials that support what is happening in the classroom. When technology takes this supporting role in education, students are not distracted, but rather intensely focused on what they are learning.

How have you used technology in your classroom to increase learning? What strategies do you employ to make sure that students are paying attention when technology is being used?