Saturday, December 6, 2014

Mini-Post: How Technology Can Increase Student Engagement

I was working on decorating the door of my classroom for the Christmas Door Decorating Contest at school this week, and was reminded of how important the use of technology is to my students. I was simply using an iPad to take their pictures, but you would have thought that it was the most fun and exciting thing in the world. They all wanted to see the pictures after I had taken them, and thought it was so neat that they were on the little iPad screen.

All of this reminded me of how important it is to use technology in as many different ways as possible in my classroom. Throughout the SDE Kindergarten Conference that I attended with my colleagues a couple of weeks ago, the speakers constantly mentioned "novelty" as a major way to engage students. It's easy, throughout the course of the school year, to settle into a routine and forget about changing things up, but your students will be more engaged if you show them different things as frequently as you can. Technology makes this really easy.

Augmented Reality (a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, providing a composite view...thanks Google) can constantly make things new and different for students. Teachers can use it to make a word wall interactive, linking letters and words to videos and computer-generated 3D images (the Aurasma app is my choice for this...look up some videos on YouTube like this's pretty awesome). AR, combined with new apps constantly being released, and the ease of creating student projects like slideshows and videos, makes using technology in the classroom a great way to keeps things new and different in the classroom. Constantly search the Apple App Store or Google Play Store to find what new apps have been released for education. Find technology blogs to follow that give ideas and classroom applications (Two Guys and Some iPads is one that I follow closely).

Use technology to continuously shake things up in your classroom, and you will find that your students are more easily engaged.

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