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How to Use Educational Technology Tools to Engage Students
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Integrating educational technology tools into your classroom is a powerful strategy to keep students engaged and motivated.
The educational landscape is evolving rapidly, offering many tech tools suitable for traditional and online classrooms. The possibilities are boundless, from immersive virtual field trips and interactive whiteboards to dynamic online quizzes and cutting-edge 3D printing.
In this comprehensive guide, you’ll explore the diverse world of educational technology tools. Gain insights into the types of tools available and valuable tips for seamlessly implementing them in your teaching practice.
This blog post takes it a step further by providing a lesson example demonstrating how the strategic use of educational technology tools, in conjunction with the SIOP model, can captivate and engage students in transformative ways.
Create a Plan for Educational Technology Tools
Before incorporating educational technology into the classroom, creating a plan is crucial.
This plan should include what technology you want and why and how you will use it.
Consider your student’s age and development level when selecting appropriate tools and their tech abilities.
Once you have your action plan, search for the right technology to enhance learning in your classroom.
Establish Your Goals
The educational technology tools you incorporate in your classroom should always include an educational purpose.
Before you start using the tool or software, take some time and think about what you want your students to learn by using it.
Educators should have clear objectives and set achievable goals so students understand better why they use the technology.
Establishing learning objectives for every activity will allow for the purposeful implementation of educational technology tools in the classroom and optimize student learning.
Choose the Right Educational Technology Tools
Selecting the right educational technology tools takes time and effort due to the vast number of available options. To make sure your tool is effective and meaningful, choose carefully.
Consider how each tool fits into the learning objectives and if it will engage students, class size, and resources.
For example, suppose you plan to include interactive activities like Kahoot or Nearpod in your classroom. In that case, those learners who need access to their own devices may need proper resources to participate in these activities.
Embrace Technology as a Learning Tool
Embracing technology makes learning much more engaging and immersive for your students.
Teachers use educational technology tools to create interactive, collaborative assignments to help learners better understand and retain information.
For example, a teacher might create videos, interactive quizzes, or audio recordings to spark conversations about important topics.
Technology also encourages students to think critically by allowing them to ask questions, compare ideas with classmates, and engage in collaboration.
Ensure Equity and Accessibility
When using educational technology tools in the classroom, it’s important to consider equity and accessibility.
- All students must have the ability to participate and access the tech resources available.
- Teachers should ensure everyone has an equal chance to take advantage of these resources.
- Teachers must provide alternative access to the technology used. Such as providing students with printed or digital documents on topics they might be unable to engage with due to technological limitations.
The SIOP Model helps teachers integrate technology into lessons, making them more socially and culturally relevant to students’ lives.
Using the model, teachers create engaging and interactive lessons that excite students about their learning.
Using Effective SIOP Model Strategies In Your Classroom
The Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) Model is an effective teaching model for reaching English Language Learners that helps identify and address their academic, language, and social needs.
Developing lessons using the SIOP Model and adding educational technology tools is a great way to connect and engage students.
Here are two ways to add educational technology tools to SIOP lessons.
Simplifying Vocabulary and Checking for Comprehension
One key part of the SIOP Model is thematic instruction and teaching vocabulary simultaneously.
To help English Language Learners understand the assigned material, teachers should include visual aids with the language for activities and tasks.
In this case, educational technology tools help by having a platform to create digital flashcards. Using digital flashcards, teachers create lessons by setting up objects or pictures and providing synonyms for difficult or specialized words.
Additionally, it’s important to constantly check for comprehension of instructions by having students repeat directions and instructions in their own words. Digital tools like translation devices are helpful for students to translate instructions from their mother-tongue language quickly.
These strategies provide not only the repetition of the material but allow teachers to identify any gaps in understanding immediately.
- When accommodations are necessary for ELLs, it is essential to consider other means of communication, such as visuals or pictures that summarize the instruction and its objectives.
- If a student still has difficulty understanding specific tasks or activities, allow a one-on-one session during class to help them catch up on the material if needed.
Engaging Students in Meaningful Activities and Assessing Progress
One way to ensure comprehension of a concept is through meaningful activities emphasizing student collaboration. This could include group activities, simulations, conversations, and games using educational technology tools.
Furthermore, teachers should assess student understanding with quizzes paused and approach or withdrawn. These methods will help the teacher gauge which students need additional support and those who require further challenges.
Activities should be engaging, increase in complexity, and contain meaningful instruction. A great way to help students connect with a new concept is to allow them to ask questions, reflect on their work and experiences, as well as apply what they are learning in real-life situations.
This will give the students ownership of their learning and take it away from purely a rote memorization of facts to an understanding of the subject within the context of their human experience.
Additionally, continual assessments during activities allow the teacher to periodically stop and assess student comprehension throughout the lesson.
Multiple assessment forms can also be implemented, such as quizzes, exit tickets, mini-projects, or group work. These forms of assessment provide feedback that informs subsequent instructional steps while giving teachers insight into how students progress toward content objectives.
Engaging Activities Integrating Technology
Teachers are always looking for creative ways to engage their students in lessons. This is a great video activity teachers can do with their students. Integrating technology is fun and engaging for students in high school.
This activity example includes the activity requirements to complete the task:
For my high school students, I often use a video activity, rather than a traditional presentation activity, for students to visualize their topics.
This helps to reinforce learning as students create context around their topics using main ideas and supporting ideas.
Students create an emotional appeal to their viewers using images, video clips, and audio to project their main ideas.
Examples of Students Using Educational Technology Tools in Lessons
The following activity can be modified to include your requirements.
- Create a 5-minute video that reviews one law or policy that affects the day-to-day functioning of schools, students, and teachers in the country in which you are living or in your home country. The video presentation should:
- Describe the selected law or policy accurately
- Discuss the historical and current perspective on the selected law/policy as well as its strengths and weaknesses
- Reflect on how the law or policy affects schools in general and teaching and learning in particular
- Use a video editing tool to annotate your video with text transitions to highlight the key ideas in your video. Be sure that your first and last name is included in your video.
I used a Biteable subscription membership to create my instructional video.
Here are some options for creating videos:
- Biteable has a free membership.
- Canva offers video templates.
- YouTube includes a Creator Studio.
- Splicer is a great app for creating annotated videos.
Incorporating educational technology tools into a lesson designed using the SIOP Model is a fantastic way to enhance student engagement and participation.
Educational technology tools are a great way to make lessons come alive and increase engagement in the classroom.
When creating lessons, start by setting goals and selecting the right tools while considering how best to incorporate them. Ensuring that all learners have equitable access to digital resources is also important.
Thanks for stopping by!
Until next time,