In most of our work, we try to ensure that students are engaging with technology. Technology offers students the opportunity to engage with and practice 21st century skills. It also helps teachers reach all students, communicate with colleagues, and allow for extensions of knowledge outside the classroom.
Here are a three of my favorite classroom tech tools:
1. PhET Simulations
If you want to extend learning beyond what is possible in your classroom setting, PhET simulations can help. These interactive simulations allow students to engage in the content while answering their own questions about the real world.
These hands-on tools allow students to play while they learn and are quite varied by design. My favorite is the energy skate park simulation, where students engage with a skateboarder and are shown different values for various energy types, speed, and can even add or remove friction from their ramp.
EdPuzzle is a website and app that allows students to watch videos from various platforms. Teachers can add questions throughout each video to gauge if students are understanding the material being presented. Teachers then get a score for how each student did on each question. It is a great opportunity for teachers to flip their classroom, where homework is given in lecture format and classwork is focused on practice problems.
3. Poll Everywhere
Poll everywhere is an attachment for that allows teachers to poll their class at any time about various questions. You can choose from a variety of question types like multiple choice or open-ended and add them to slides in presentations. Students then can access the question via website, app, or text. The results are displayed in real time on the google slide in presentation mode. This has revolutionized participation in class, as students are much more likely to respond to questions that are anonymous.
This are just a sampling of the classroom tech tools I implement in my classroom. There are barriers to this like access to computers/cellphones in school, student access at home, and access to Wi-Fi. However, there are always ways to work around these barriers so that students have opportunities to try learning in different forms. As an educator you’ll see the engagement soar with added technology. You’ve got this.