With the new school season, teachers are experimenting with ways to engage kids better. And parents are always looking to avoid the "pulling-out-the-hair" moments with homework. Of course, what both groups want is to make sure the kids understand the concepts and demonstrate in real-life.
Like everything else, technology can be used for better or for worse. Here are some great ways to engage the kids better and ease them into difficult-to-grasp concepts through technology.
1. Involve them in the making
Involving kids in creating little guides and survey questionnaires around concepts can be a great way to engage them. Creating a classroom community blog or a class webpage where children can put up their ideas/presentations/ survey results/pictures of projects can boost interest and engagement tremendously.
2. Get them to present abstract concepts
Abstract concepts, in subjects like science, are grasped better by using apps like the iMovie. In this example, students are encouraged to record every phase of the lab assignment and then explain what they had done. The videos are then edited by the students themselves and presented to the class or a bigger audience to demonstrate their understanding of the concept. To take it a step further, teachers can even encourage them to self-publish their work with services like Lulu or iUniverse.
iMovie for windows is also available.
3. Provide out-of-school experiences
Our school memories are filled field trips and events outside of the school than within them. Getting them to document their observations through pictures, movies and presentations encourages them to not only develop exotic skills like photography but also allows them to put down their thoughts and present it with a unique perspective.
4- Use storytelling in classroom projects
Storytelling is making a comeback as a major educational tool. Many teachers use the power of stories to connect with the child. Stories are also a great way to promote a culture of collaboration among the students. Getting students to work in groups and create stories using digital media including images, pictures and music is a great way to promote empathy, learning and co-operation in a classroom.
5. Engage with Social Media
Why not get the students to encapsulate their learning in 140 words or less? Tweeting the lesson, or having a website where students can post their ideas on using a concept innovatively can be a great idea generation tool. For example, after a lesson on "Energy", the students can collect ideas on how to use Solar energy and collate them to present "101 original ideas on using solar energy!"
6. Use Webquests
A webquest is a guide for students to search for specific information on the internet very effectively.
For example, students may be asked to serve as the caretaker of a National Park, and they might be encouraged to find information on animal species - native and foreign, care tips, eating habits, natural habitats, steps for conservation, etc. It's a great way for teachers to integrate the power of the internet into their own curriculum.
7. Create podcasts
Have the students interview a real person in a particular job. For example, what does a museum curator's job entail? Or what does a project manager in a tech company do all day? They could interview real people, put them up as podcasts and engage the entire classroom in a conversation on career choices!
8. Get them to help someone
Get students to write a "how-to" piece on a specific piece of technology that could help a person who is not tech savvy, like their grandma. For example - how to set up the iPad, or how to connect with a friend on video chat. These kinds of exercises force children to think from a user perspective and hone their own understanding of technology.
About the author:
Devishobha Chandramouli is the founder and editor of Kidskintha- a platform dedicated to helping millennial parents raise happy kids. Get your own FREE copy of the eBook "137 Proven Productivity Hacks For The Millennial Parent" now.