Teach Children the Way they Want to Learn
Using technology-enabled tools, a bit of creativity and making students partners in their own learning can create an engaging environment
As a person engaged in empowering educators, I begin most of my sessions by asking participants to share their concerns regarding the teaching-learning environment. The common answers received in every session are- ‘students are hyperactive’, ‘they have short attention span’, ‘they exhibit disinterest’, etc. While on the one hand, teachers complain of disinterest and low attention span of students, on the other hand, we see children thoroughly engaged in online platforms, gaming gadgets and social media. Isn’t it surprising that the same students who are extremely attentive in online platforms remain inattentive in classrooms?
This tech-savvy generation, thriving on the latest trends, have the entire world on their palms. Hence, it is quite challenging for the teachers of today to keep them engaged for long. Therefore, the teachers nowadays need to be creative thinkers to be able to generate ideas for innovative, interesting and inspiring learning environments.
Crucial questions that a teacher needs to consider in order to create active learning environments:
- Which technology-enabled educational pedagogies would keep the learners engaged in classrooms?
- How to use digital tools to reinvent the learning environment?
- How to enable the learners to take part in the decision-making of content planning, delivery mechanism of content and creation of activities to reinforce learning?
- How to innovate the curriculum to focus on skills and competencies?
- What should be done to prepare students for global citizenship?
Technology as a tool can go a long way in creating varied learning environments, besides focussing on differentiated learning. Adopting sound technology pedagogies can help teachers engage children effectively in classrooms and improve learning outcomes. Here’s how technology can be adopted in classrooms to attain specific objectives.
Learner-centric environments: A shift of focus from teachers to students, i.e. a learner-centric approach aims to instil a love for lifelong learning in students, and make them adept at problem solving. Sharing resource materials with students online as a part of the flipped learning classroom methodology could help achieve these goals and motivate students to become self-directed learners.
Knowledge-centric environments: Redefining the curricula with the 21st-century skills, such as creativity, communication, collaboration and critical thinking, makes learners ready to take on the challenges of the future work life. Adoption of a Computer Science curriculum focussed on instilling digital fluency and not merely digital literacy can help attain such objectives.
Authentic learning environments: In an authentic learning environment, learners are encouraged to construct knowledge in context to real-world problems. Experiential learning projects, such as robotics or any other STEM projects, can be used as opportunities to prod children to solve real-life problems.
Assessment-centric environments: Every learning process should be followed by an evaluation process so that the learning gaps can be easily identified and mitigated. To achieve this, it is essential to demystify the essence of assessments. Answers to ‘What skills or learning concepts are to be assessed?’ ‘When should it be assessed?’ ‘How should it be assessed?’ should be available with teachers before they design the assessments. Taking assessments on digital platforms could help teachers get a comprehensive report besides engaging students in a mode they are comfortable with.
Technology is an integral aspect of today’s generation. Devising learning strategies integrated with technology will create an environment that keeps students engaged as well as makes them ready for creating disruptive technology in the future. As teachers and educators, one should also aim to be innovative and out-of-the-box. You are shaping the minds of the next generation, and you ought to live up to the task.