Technology in the classroom often leads to disengaged students, who are paying more attention to their phones or laptops than to the lecture or classroom discussion. While it may seem overwhelming and discouraging to stand in front of a room full of distracted students, there are a few ways that professors can actually use technology to connect with their students and encourage class participation.
- Personalize the learning experience. Use technology to engage students by utilizing group message boards, video materials, blogs, and wikis. Create opportunities for the students to publicize the content they create in the classroom and rather than prohibit technology, use it to encourage participation.
- Make it a game. Today’s students use technology in almost every aspect of their lives. Teachers can use “gamification,” by using technology to create an interactive environment. Some ways to do this include: providing simple rewards (like gold stars) for attendance; creating competitions with quizzes and score-tracking; and class collaboration, with students receiving rewards for class participation. You can use this strategy to support your course objectives and foster an engaged learning environment for the students.
- Remember that students are preparing for the future. Technology has changed the way that students think about learning. Students must adjust with the rapid technological changes, and will be expected to be ready for whatever technology will come next. Professors should prepare students to be adaptable employees in the workplace by using different kinds of technology in the classroom. Providing students with experiences that will help them grow and adapt to new expectations will help them develop diverse skill sets that will prepare them for the future.
- Update your materials. Outdated materials and tired lectures lead to disengaged students. Professors should review their outlines each year and can assess how to incorporate technology into the classroom. Use current events, video materials, digital textbooks, and social media to engage students and guide conversations.
- Track data. You can use technology to track your students’ data to learn patterns and trends in performance. This can help you understand what your students are comprehending and where they need more assistance. Identifying areas of confusion and addressing those concerns can improve student engagement and lead to better learning outcomes.
While technology is known for distracting students, teachers can use it to reengage their classes and provide better learning experiences for their students. It may require change and creativity but can have positive results for both teachers and students.