Weekly Digest #71: Technology to Help You Create an Active Classroom Environment
In previous posts and digests, we have discussed active learning (see this post and this digest, or check out all of our posts tagged as "active learning"). In this digest, we provide a number of resources to help you actively engage students in the classroom with technology. And, because not all active learning necessarily leads to good learning, make sure to check out the last article for a good discussion about engagement with technology vs. engagement with learning.
1) Pear Deck
Pear Deck allows you to present your slide presentation to students while encouraging active participation from all students. Students connect on their computer, tablet, or smart phones. They then can see the presentation on their device and are able to respond to questions or prompts. The idea is to make participation less scary and to involve the entire class!
Pear Deck does have paid versions. If you click on pricing you’ll be able to see how much packages would cost for an individual, small group of teachers, or entire school or district. However, scroll down to the bottom of this page to find information about Pear Deck’s Free Plan.
If you want to learn about how to use Pear Deck from a teacher who uses it, check out this podcast on James Sturtevant’s Hacking Engagement show.
EDpuzzle is a way to make educational videos interactive. This is particularly useful for flipped classrooms / hybrid classes where students watch lecture content at home and then ask questions and work on developing their understanding in the class. If you like this technology, check out this guest post on designing educational videos.
This author introduces motivational tool technologies, and highlights their need to be innovative, authentic, easy-to-ues, user-friendly, reliable, easy to share, and provide control over content. He then presents four good examples. We have used Padlet in our workshops, and we find it useful for group discussions. These tools can be used to create content for students that allow for interaction and engagement, either in a traditional classroom format or even in flipped/hybrid classroom formats. They could also be used by the students during group projects.
4) 9 Technology Tools to Engage Students in the Classroom by Sara McGuire on TeachThought (@TeachThought)
This piece presents some cool little programs that you can use in conjunction with other technology, such as cold turkey – a program that blocks certain websites or the internet alltogether so that students stay focused on the assigned task. You may find something you like in here. However, As you read this one, note that the author works for Venngage (suggestion #4). This technology creates infographics, though this one isn’t entirely free. Infographics, whether you use this technology or not, can be great for utilizing dual coding. (Though we’re not especially fond of the way this author writes about visual and verbal learners. Instead, infographics should help all learners! See this post for a discussion about dual coding and learning styles.)
5) Engagement from Technology Use Is Different Than Engagement from Learning by Eric Patnoudes (@NoApp4Pedagogy) on EdTech (@EdTech_K12)
Finally, just because students are actively using technology does not mean they are engaged in a way that will promote meaningful learning. This author provides an interesting personal anecdote and then discusses the difference between true engagement and active technology use. Not all “active learning” produces good learning! (For a bit more on this, see our FAQ page and the question about retrieval practice and learning by doing.) These are important issues to consider as you integrate technology to create a more engaging lessons.
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