Educational leaders look for ways to maximize student learning and increase the effectiveness of teacher instruction. In my school, we use the term “best practice” when referring to strategies that are research-based and have evidence supporting them. Two practices that show great evidence in student learning are allowing students to learn through movement and incorporating technology into the classroom. While you may not think of technology and movement as a likely combination, bringing these two factors together can greatly increase engagement and help students excel.
Get Your Students Moving
Let’s start with movement—why is this so important? Probably the first and best reason is that it meets the needs of learners who struggle to maintain focus. Truthfully, this can describe all learners from time to time. Many schedules have long instructional “blocks” of learning time, and in order to maintain the concentration of students, they need periodic "brain breaks" to aid cognition. GoNoodle is one of my favorite sites to easily incorporate movement into the classroom.
Beyond this, there are strategies that are even better than just giving students a brain break. Great teachers embed movement into the lesson to help students succeed. This can take on a variety of formats, from a four corners exercise and cooperative learning structures to “vote with your feet,” hand actions that help reinforce vocabulary, or a gallery walk of student projects. Some students learn best through kinesthetic learning, but all students retain knowledge better when they see it, hear it, and do it.
Bringing Technology Into the Equation
Now consider technology—how has it helped to engage our students and challenge them to learn at higher levels? Again, there are many answers to this question, but for most of us it is easily answered: Technology has allowed us to instruct in a manner that is more efficient, precise, engaging, student-centered, and fun. It has allowed students to have “googles” of information at their fingertips to learn from.
A Winning Combination
When we put these two practices together, we can create an even more engaging and rigorous classroom. These two can seem a little antithetical; usually students are pretty stationary when using technology, and too much movement around technology often makes us nervous about breaking something.
Here are some ideas for ways to start moving, learning, and growing with technology:
- Place QR codes around the room: When done correctly, this activity can work for a group project or even a test. Print the different QR codes you want the students to use and post them on the walls around the room. Students are moving and learning, and—depending on the project—talking and creating.
- Use a projector as a light board: Have a scene projected on the screen—maybe something from history or from a book—and let the students use puppets as part of the scene. Perhaps have them create the next chapter of the story or a scene with historical character’s dialogue. This would probably need to be used as a center or a station as there is usually only one interactive projector in the room.
- “Come up and touch”: When you have a touch projector on, movement during a lecture session is pretty easy. Instead of students just raising their hands to provide an answer, have them come up to the board and manipulate the answer, solution, or visuals that are displayed.
- Photo scavenger hunt: Using a mobile device or tablet, this is a fairly simple project that gets students out of their seats. If they are studying symmetry, have them take pictures of it to demonstrate knowledge. Another option would be for the teacher to post pictures around the room and have groups of students take pictures of different assigned topics.
- Video the action: When students get their new vocabulary words, pass the verbs out and have different groups video an example of the words in action. These can be compiled into a bank of videos that students can watch to get to know and learn the new words.
- Screen gallery walk: When it comes time to share students' electronic work with the class, the quickest and most efficient way to manage it is to show their work on your interactive projector. However, there may be a time or a project that can incorporate a “gallery walk” into it. This idea places the students’ devices around the room (with headphones attached if there is audio), and all the students circulate through the room experiencing the projects as if they were in an art gallery. If the projects are longer, this is a good methodology to get the students moving to learn instead of passively watching presentations from their desks. Students could also evaluate the projects as they circulate. Chromebooks could be set on desks or tablets could be used with stands to make it look like a gallery. Some teachers may choose to invite parents to experience the gallery as well, which is a great option for publishing student work to a larger audience.
Learning through movement and technology are both great strategies for students, and putting them together creates an amazing learning experience for students, teachers, and even parents. Have you had success with using movement and technology in your classroom? Comment below with your proven methods!
Want more ideas for lessons that are engaging, collaborative, and use technology? Check out Boxlight’s Collaborate to the Core!>>