Today's middle and high school students know technology. They are always on their smartphones, laptops, and tablets, and they rely increasingly on electronic devices for their everyday needs.
It shouldn't be any different when it comes to learning in the classroom. To connect with your students and meet them on their level, you should be using technology. With the right tools, you can make the subject matter fun for students and ensure that what they learn will stick.
Here are some fun ways you, the teacher, can use technology in the classroom.
A drone can serve many purposes in the classroom. During gym class, for example, you can fly a drone above a game and later have your students analyze the plays.1 For science class, students can navigate the drone around different plants and trees on their school’s campus to help identify the species. If you are teaching an art class such as videography or photography, your drone can take footage or pictures of the outdoors for a project. Students will see unique angles and perspectives of their subjects they wouldn’t have been able to observe otherwise.
Play PowerPoint Games
Who doesn’t love game shows? Nowadays, you can teach your students the material while they are competing in “Jeopardy,” “Wheel of Fortune,” “Family Feud,” and “Deal or No Deal” via a PowerPoint presentation.2 All you have to do is download game templates online or create your own. Reward prizes to the winners, such as extra credit or the chance to host the game for the class the next time around.
Make Videos for SchoolTube
SchoolTube3 is the YouTube for educators and students. The content on the site, which is uploaded by students across the nation, is appropriate for all ages. Your students can create a video about a topic they are learning in your class and work together on the pre- and post-production aspects including writing the script, and shooting and editing it. They will be able to show their friends and families what they are learning about in your classroom, as well as display their talents.
Integrate Apps into Lesson Plans
If your school gives students iPads or lets them work on their phones in the classroom, look into the options for educational apps. For example, there’s Algodoo, a science app4 that gives students the opportunity to create physics simulation scenes. They can analyze physics concepts with graphs and charts within the app as well. If you are a middle school health, anatomy, or science teacher, download My Incredible Body5, which shows students the inner workings of the human body and provides fun facts about it as well. For a more complete list of great apps, check out the American Association of School Librarians’ website.6
Give Virtual Reality a Chance
Virtual reality is a cutting-edge way of using technology in the classroom. One device, NearPod,7 is changing how students learn and experience lessons. When students put on the headgear, they can take virtual field trips around the world and visit the Lincoln Memorial, the Oregon Trail, the Colosseum in Rome, and the Great Wall of China. Another tool, Expeditions,8 is software produced by Google for its own cardboard headset. Google has teamed up with places such as the Planetary Society and the American Museum of Natural History for content that students can explore.
In 2016, it’s crucial that secondary educators incorporate technology into their classrooms. It encourages students to become engaged with the material and gives everyone a fun opportunity to learn.
For those interested in learning more about teaching and other careers in secondary education, check out Saint Joseph’s University’s online master’s program in Secondary Education.