Weekly Digest #71: Technology to Help You Create an Active Classroom Environment

Weekly Digest #71: Technology to Help You Create an Active Classroom Environment

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

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.

 
Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

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.

 

2) EDpuzzle

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.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

 

3) 4 Free Web Tools to Boost Student Engagement by Nicolás Pino-James‏ (@npinojames) on edutopia (@edutopia)

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.

 
Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay

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. 

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay


Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Occasionally we publish a guest digest, and If you'd like to propose a guest digest click here. Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Weekly Digest #66: What Makes a MOOC

Weekly Digest #67: Dual Coding in the Classroom

Weekly Digest #68: Desirable Difficulties

Weekly Digest #69: Behaviorism in the Classroom

Weekly Digest #70: Teachers’ Implementation of Spaced Practice

GUEST POST: Postsecondary Transition for Students with Disabilities

GUEST POST: Postsecondary Transition for Students with Disabilities

Using Retrieval Practice to Learn Vocabulary in the  Elementary School Classroom

Using Retrieval Practice to Learn Vocabulary in the Elementary School Classroom