Using Educational Technology to Create an Active Learning Environment
What is the difference between active and passive learning?
In a student-centered active learning model, a student will immediately apply a new concept to the real world, using hands-on lessons and sharing their observations and experiences. With active learning, students are more directly involved in the learning process, giving them a deeper, conceptual understanding of the topic at hand.
In a more traditional, teacher-centered passive learning model, students absorb knowledge from an instructor or textbook by listening to a lecture or reading an assigned chapter. Students will only interact with the material by taking notes or testing comprehension with quizzes and exams.
Benefits of active learning over passive learning
With passive learning, instructors are able to introduce a broader range of information over a shorter period of time. However, active learning is preferred for information retention and student engagement. Active learning allows students to take charge of their own education, pushing them out of their comfort zone of passive note taking into an active role of collaborating with peers, sharing their own observations and thoughts, and figuring out the solutions to problems for themselves.
An active learning style not only keeps students more focused and engaged than a passive lecture style—it also encourages them to flex their creative muscles, helps them think critically, makes them more likely to be able to recall information when they need to, and better prepares them for a career.
What role can edtech play in active learning?
1. Break down barriers.
Disrupt the typical model of teachers at the front of the classroom and students seated at the back by allowing everyone to roam. With a wireless document camera or writing tablet, teachers can approach students at their desks and allow them to share their work or interact with the material.
2. Start a conversation.
By conducting a poll using an audience response system, teachers can spark a discussion or even a debate among students that allows them to flex their critical thinking skills and broadens their perspectives.
3. Let the student be the teacher.
An interactive display with annotation software allows teachers to write notes over anything, from documents to web pages and videos. Inviting students up in turn to make notes during class discussions will allow them to engage more directly with the material and stay focused. The student designated as teacher can help guide the discussion by offering their own input.
4. Make learning collaborative.
In some higher ed classrooms, students have already taken the initiative to create a shared Google Doc among their classmates for note taking. Teachers can harness this same spirit of collaboration to bring life to lectures. By sharing your Google Docs and Google Slides used in class, you can give students the opportunity to weigh in by writing questions and comments about the material. Software like Ximbus gets everyone on the same page with Google collaboration tools.
5. Encourage sharing.
Students can share completed homework, presentations, artwork, and anything else that might contribute to class-wide learning and discussion on a single large digital display using screen casting. Some interactive displays allow multiple students to project their screens at the same time.
Contact us for more ideas about using edtech to make your classroom more interactive! At QOMO we’ve been developing interactive technologies to encourage collaboration in classrooms and meeting rooms for nearly 20 years.