2 Teaching Strategies That Turn Distractions Into Learning Tools
Mindshift recently published an article which asked the question, “Will old teaching strategies work amidst the mobile revolution in schools?” We’d like to flip that question on its head. Instead of asking if old strategies will work with new teaching technology, we’re asking how new technology can be used to solve one of the oldest […]
Mindshift recently published an article which asked the question, “Will old teaching strategies work amidst the mobile revolution in schools?” We’d like to flip that question on its head. Instead of asking if old strategies will work with new teaching technology, we’re asking how new technology can be used to solve one of the oldest problems in education – distraction. So for the next five minutes, ignore the birds chirping outside your window and listen up. Here are two ways to use tech tools to educate and engage.
Mobile Teaching Strategies
If you’re an educator who teaches above kindergarten level, you’ve probably had to discipline at least one student for cell phone use during class. Your school might even have a strict policy that forces children to turn off their phones within school grounds, or even to leave them home completely. Sometimes, these rules backfire. Putting cell phones completely off-limits is a bit like starting a diet where you can never eat chocolate – ever. Just knowing you can’t have it makes you think about it almost constantly. What’s the solution? Moderation. Instead of outlawing cell phones altogether, you can incorporate them into your lesson plan.
One of the best parts about using phones in class? Most of your students already have them and no matter what make and model, they can all text. By using a group texting program like Celly and a projector, you can use cell phones in the classroom for the following things:
- pop quizzes
- group projects
- participation during lectures
- in-class games
- note taking
- group study
You can even incorporate Twitter into your teaching strategies. It’s a great way to get shy students involved, too, because they can speak up without even opening their mouths.
Using Teaching Technology to Flip Your Classroom
Boredom is by far the biggest cause of distraction. When students are forced to sit silently at their desks and take notes on a boring lecture, it’s no wonder they start passing notes, doodling, or texting their friends. To combat this age-old issue, more and more educators are adopting new teaching strategies and flipping their classrooms. In the process, they’re giving students a far more active role.
How it works: students watch the lecture portion of a class at home online. Then they come into class the next day and engage in an activity that puts what they’ve learned to use. Because students are working in groups, conducting hands-on experiments and engaging you with their questions, they’re far less likely to be distracted or zone out – and it’s all thanks to that online slideshow, video or audio lecture they watched at home instead of in the classroom.
It can be frustrating as a teacher trying to figure out what to do with kids that seem constantly distracted or disengaged. But you don’t have to accept the problem as a normal part of teaching. Challenge it – by using new teaching technology to shake up your classroom and inject new life into your teaching strategies. Not sure where to start? Draw some inspiration from one of the many local Pittsburgh projects supported by Spark. To view current and past projects that use technology to improve the lives of children, just visit our projects page. And if you’re an innovator in your own right, tell us about it on our Facebook page or by tweeting us @sparkpgh. We want to know – how do you use technology to engage your students?
Published April 23, 2012