Topic 3 What tools can we use to actively engage learners?

Technology distracts learners, right? Keeps them from focusing? Or it can be the other way around?

One solution is to ban phones and computers from the classroom. Another solution is to harness their tech-savvy and engage learners with online tools that will help them complete assignments while still engaging them electronically. Whether they’re working on a research essay, a presentation, a project, or a report, there are ample tools available to make the process more engaging for these learners.

Think about it–if learners are growing up in a world that requires them to be tech-savvy, then shouldn’t tech play a big role in their classroom experience? Here are some picks for tools to engage learners in the classroom.

Devices and activities

1.Games: Learners love to play games as they challenge them to use their creativity as well as their collaboration, communication and creativity skills.  Whether they are se up as board games, digital games, solo games or group games, they represent the best way for a learner to acquire new knowledge in a permanent and consolidated manner

2.Office supplies: Sheets of paper (A3, A4 or other dimensions) are the main vectors for delivering/recording learning activities. They can be used with post-its, colored crayons, or other inscription methods.  The paper can also be replaced with a blackboard, cardboard or even a virtual board/screen

3.Toys: Lego cubes, sticks, magnets, marbles or other toy-like item can constitute a vector for learning if you use them in a training setup.

4.Trips outside the classroom: apart from their direct usage in showing learners parts of their surrounding world, they have the main benefit of pulling the learners out of their learning area that they have been accustomed to and thus stimulating them to think in new and exciting ways.

5.Group activities and challenges: ice-breakers, quizzes, experiments, group activities, activities that can be done with one’s family, creativity challenges (art, music, languages), combined challenges (STEAM learning) can become active learning vectors.

Digital Tools and Phone Apps

Learners would greatly benefit from the use of apps and digital tools in their active learning endeavors.  As they are may and their uses varied, they have been structured across multiple websites and links. Here are some databases of such digital tools. Please explore them and use them in your teaching endeavors:

Educators, in the classrooms and outside, are advised to use different active learning strategies based on the nature of the course with the support of appropriate assessment methods and feedback in order to achieve the following:

By empowering learners, educators provide opportunities for learners to apply and demonstrate what they are learning. In addition, they provide opportunities for learners to receive feedback from peers and/or the instructors themselves. In general, learner empowerment strategies have the following characteristics in promoting learners’ learning in the classroom:

Learners are actively involved in the instructional process more than just listening

  • More emphasis is given on advancing learners’ skills, and less is given on transmitting information;

Learners are involved to develop their higher order thinking skills;

  • Learners are actively involved in different activities (e.g., writing, discussing, and reading);

Emphasis is placed on the learners’ investigation of their attitudes and values.

Usefull video resources on empowering learners:

A short description of different ways to empower learners plus a great book on the topic

Here is what happens when learners start owning their learning and thinking creatively about improvement.

A TEDx video in what inspire learners to embrace a growth minset