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Technology engages almost every student in your classroom, whether you’re using WordPress to write blog posts or playing games to learn a new science topic. This engagement is what makes tech tools effective for inspiring learning in your classroom. “I believe that kids learn better by doing, so having them actively engaged in games and creating visual presentations is a great motivator,” said Julie Sippola, a 5th grade science teacher.
But why is technology so engaging for students and how does that translate to more learning? Here are five simple answers.
Many Tech Tools Are Visual
Children have short attention spans, and visuals keep them engaged. This is especially the case when you use YouTube to explain new concepts or allow students to use presentation tools like Google Slides or Prezi in the place of what would normally be a long, written report.
When creating a presentation, students are not only searching for the right words, but the best animations, images and videos. This entire process keeps them focused on different facets of the topic and how best to represent their knowledge.
The Internet Foster’s Children’s Curiosity
Allowing students to search Google at their own discretion may not be a safe idea—who knows what they could stumble upon—but giving them the reigns with a website like Safe Search Kids, is a secure way to let their curiosity soar.
Students not only feel empowered to learn, taking the reigns themselves rather than reading a worksheet, but their curiosity helps them discover loads of new information they’ll be excited to share.
Give them a topic to research and require them to find 3 to 5 reputable sources. They’ll love stumbling around the web, discovering new facts about their topic; they may even find more than five sources.
Tech Tools Make Simple Tasks More Fun
While not every tech tool is created to make typical learning tasks more fun, many include social and game features that encourage students to learn more and enjoy it. Try to bring at least one or two tools into the classroom that make learning more fun, like Whooo’s Reading or FunBrain. These tools focus on making typical tasks (logging reading or memorizing multiplication tables) more exciting.
Technology is a Regular Part of Their Life
What is familiar is often welcomed with open arms. For the digital citizens sitting in your classroom, technology is familiar, and often associated with things they love—social networks, games and sharing.
Turn your classroom into a BYOD space, where students can use the mini computers in their pocket—which they know how to work better than anyone else—to learn. This takes learning “out of” the classroom, and brings it into the sphere of their normal life. Who knows, they may start using that new math app at home too!
Technology Brings Lessons to Life
Technology takes learning from a book and puts it on a screen, with moving parts, flashing lights, sound and more. This engages students and makes the lesson more exciting and memorable. Use a website like NASA’s Design a Planet, where a series of interactive steps teach students about the solar system, while they go through the process of creating their own planet.
Technology engages students in a variety of ways, which in turn inspires more learning. Your students will light up as they dive into new lessons using technology, whether you use YouTube videos to explain a new topic or give students a chance to (safely) stumble around the web for research. The best part is they’ll remember what they learned because they had fun doing it.
Bio: Jessica Sanders is the Director of Social Outreach for Learn2Earn. She grew up reading books like The Giver and Holes, and is passionate about making reading as exciting for young kids today as it has always been for her. Follow Learn2Earn on Twitter and Facebook, and send content inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.