How to Leverage the Internet in Your Classroom
You use the Internet every day in your personal life, but how often do you use it in your classroom? Whether you’re teaching students how to blog or empowering them to improve their latest presentation with an online program, it’s a powerful tool that you don’t want to leave at the door when you walk in.
Give it a whirl with these eleven suggestions, all of which will make your classroom more exciting and engaging.
1. Travel the World
With Google Earth
Let your students immerse themselves in the culture of another city, state, or country with Google Earth. With this free online program they can explore the streets of small towns and big cities, giving them a glimpse into a region that they may never have the chance to explore otherwise.
2. Invite Guest Speakers
This tool, designed for connecting people face to face from far away, is a versatile classroom tool. Use it to connect with other students around the world or host guest speakers, regardless of where they’re located.
3. Track Reading
With online reading logs
Keep track of your students reading with online logs, which take all the work and guessing games out of manually recording minutes and books. Platforms like Whooo’s Reading turn reading logs into full-on classroom tools, where you can track reading and see stats, like which students are reading the most and at what level.
4. Improve Collaboration
With Google Docs
Google Docs is free to use and allows your students to collaborate in real-time. Multiple students can be editing one document together, allowing them to work collaboratively on a paper or project. You can be in the document as well, adding comments and suggestions as they go.
5. Make Learning More Fun
With educational games
Game-based learning (GBL) is a new teaching method, where subject matter is taught via interactive games. One key benefit: “Video games break down tasks and allow learners to control their learning experience,” according to research done by OnlineCollegeCourses.com. Other benefits include motor control, hand-eye coordination, and higher levels of engagement.
6. Teach 21st Century Writing
With blog platforms
Blogging teaches students about writing in the digital age. Let them submit homework and projects as a blog post. Encourage them to play with the formatting, add image and videos, and share their work with friends and family. Blogger.com is a good, free place to start.
7. Expand on Your Lessons
With YouTube videos
A whopping 46 percent of teachers use video in their classroom, give it a try by expanding your lessons with YouTube videos. Search for content based on the lesson topic or refer to this blog post from Educational Technology and Mobile Learning with more than 30 YouTube channels that were made for teachers.
8. Improve Student Presentations
With online presentation tools
Say goodbye to PowerPoint and hello to programs like Prezi and emaze. These help your students turn a regular (read: Boring!) project into a powerful and animated presentation that the whole class will love. Don’t forget, you can use similar tools to inject some fun into your lessons too.
9. Explain Digital Footprints
With social media
More and more education professionals are talking about the importance of teaching students to be productive 21st century citizens, which includes being aware of their digital footprint. Create a lesson on social media and teach students smart ways to use it, including sharing their best achievements and projects. This will leave positive digital footprints that follow them into adulthood.
10. Listen to Music
With Pandora and Spotify
Music has been proven to motivate students. “The research team showed that music engages the areas of the brain involved with paying attention, making predictions, and updating the event in memory,” according to Stanford Medicine referring to a 2007 study. Use your phone, computer, or tablet to get kids moving during a mid-week or afternoon slump.
11. Give Quizzes Online
With Top Hat or Google Forms
Google Forms is free and allows you to quickly and easily build and deploy quizzes online. Create your quiz, share it with your students, and have them take and submit it online. Now you don’t have to read messy handwriting and can grade anywhere you have an Internet connection.
Top Hat does this really well, too! Top Hat is the leading student engagement system that allows you to quickly quiz students in class and immediately gauge their understanding – not to mention, it keeps them on their toes for the next pop question!