Classrooms and lecture theaters are rapidly changing from being dull spaces with dusty chalkboards to a vibrant and interactive environment – all thanks to the enormous range of innovations available to teachers today. Students that have grown up with the internet, smart phones, touchscreens and social media crave stimulation and want to engage with their learning experience.
There are a number of ways that this can be achieved:
Get the creative juices flowing
Assigning students projects that are digital in nature, such as videos or animations, or even social media campaigns, can pique their interest in diverse subject matter while teaching them how to communicate effectively. There is open-source software available online such as video editing software Shotcut and modelling and animation software Blender. Plus, these days any number of smartphones can capture video of sufficient quality – so there is no excuse for students not to get involved!
Supplement learning with online content
From YouTube lecture series to online case studies, putting revision material online allows students to access and process it in their own time. This can help to reinforce key concepts or teach the material in a different way, complementing different learning styles and solidifying knowledge. Opensource.com has a number of resources where teachers can learn about creating educational material.
Make lessons media-rich
Why rely on the old model of lecturing while students take notes? With the variety of media and technological tools available, learning no longer has to be passive. For example, interactive whiteboards are a highly versatile classroom tool that can replace traditional whiteboards, flipcharts, media systems such as DVD players and televisions with one easy-to-use device. An interactive whiteboard is one of these technology innovations that can can display lecture notes and presentations, videos and animations and access the internet for lessons with a higher impact. Significantly, an interactive whiteboard such as the Sharp PN-VC651A has a multi-touch screen, so that students can annotate or edit on-screen content, draw on the screen and use applications. The PN-C651A connects to a PC, is wireless enabled and is compatible with software packages such as Microsoft Office. It can even control the students’ personal tablets by sending content to them (if the appropriate software is used). There is also the option to use an Audience Response System so that presenters can poll a classroom audience or conduct quizzes, capturing feedback onto the whiteboard.
Encourage cooperation and group learning
Interactive whiteboards also promote collaboration among staff and students as well as encouraging group discussions and participation. They can be a very effective tool for brainstorming sessions, and annotations and notes can be written, edited and recorded on the board and saved to be shared and distributed to staff or students later.