Research has shown that while technology is a big factor in modern learning, the use of content and assistance can be improved.
How To Improve Online Teaching And Learning In The Classroom
Learning is for everyone. Everyone has a life outside of school. After traveling the world and experiencing some weird interactions, learning isn’t the only thing I think about when I go to class. And yet it seems to be a fairly neglected area of the learning process. For the majority of the year, school takes precedence and the needs of the class need to be addressed.
Not all students have lived the lives I have. Some are hungry, some are in wheelchairs, some have hearing or vision issues. Many others are institutionalized or are students for whom the school does not have a lot of resources.
One of the best ways that the rest of the year can be a breeze is by sticking to the basics. “Good teacher? Good learning experience?” is something I want to hear more often. It sounds simple, but I know that people tend to tune it out in lieu of things that they can do.
We cannot build classroom spaces that are artificial and “colorful” places with little to no face-to-face interaction. In a way, the goal for every place is to replicate your home environment. The classroom is not a home. It’s a space. It needs to inspire, it needs to inspire your students and not hurt them. A place in which everything is important and thus requires a design that flows naturally and leads to student interaction.
It should be kept simple. Smooth surfaces. Walls that are non-picky and allow for some type of proper setup. The many varieties of seating. Accessible steps to the outside. Nice, easy-to-use technology so students can get up, download and research.
These things will work for the vast majority of students. But we must also take a look at what can be implemented in the middle school or early high school years to infuse a little more personal interaction into the process.
I’ll mention a few of the examples below, some of which I have personally experienced.
I’ve done projects with the LEGO Mindstorms, and I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the fun and the builds. They just didn’t function very well without a teacher offering up some guidance and direction. I also enjoyed the custom sets that the Googoos allowed. These sets serve very well as general learning tools, but have no serious use for students when they are not completed.
Once high school came around, I really saw the impact of multiple teachers that were working with students. Students were able to improve greatly and realize the many degrees of success they have or can have in life. These teachers had time to interact with students outside of class, and that’s fantastic.
The best thing about technology is that everything can be done in the palm of one’s hand. Create a class around these tools. Think about the spark you get for learning while looking at someone you know or did. A spark of the imagination comes into play. Create what you want and build a few more like it. Or start a club where you can put students with different specialties together to build and learn. This is a win-win for all involved.
Students that are in wheelchairs are often ignored. But if they were at your school they would not only benefit, but would feel like they are a part of a tight-knit class and would feel like they had an equal footing.
Think about learning on a variety of different platforms. Particularly in digital environments where you can get rid of paper, and the potential for errors comes into play.
A good website like Classfolio simply made my life a lot easier. The site allows me to make a digital outline of a class and has simple tools for students, where they can create portfolios. Doing so means that a student can take courses they enjoy with people who know what they’re doing. Then when they’re ready to make the transition to the real world, they can showcase their work, and it will look very impressive.
I’ve started playing with the space-healing genre which I think can be really useful in the classroom. I think a lot of students need to develop the skills they need for the future. This has possibilities for a classroom app, or creating something like a virtual private network. Basically, something that provides access to the things you need in a virtual environment.
Perhaps the next push will be to tackle the topic of behavior and the person teaching. Sometimes this isn’t all that tough. Another online class with Evan at Axiom Publishing (not affiliated to Social Playground whatsoever) is all about basic bullying guidelines. It’s a good place to start with behavior and can be used in other subjects as well.