Although the STEM classroom is naturally geared towards hands-on learning, there is always more to learn when it comes to improving your classroom. Interactive learning allows students to engage and participate in the lesson, ask questions, and talk to each other. This is an important teaching tool to utilize in a world where students are often unengaged and forced to learn via lectures and memorizing facts and figures. In this post, we’ll explore some things which can help get you started using interactive learning in your classroom.
Collaboration Among Students
Collaboration is an incredibly powerful tool. Not only does it promote an active mind and help your students stay engaged, but it also teaches communication skills and how to work in a group.
A common method for encouraging collaboration is to ask your students a thoughtful question or task to think on individually. After they have pondered the topic, pair the students and have them share their answers and solutions with their partner, discussing possible alternatives or exploring the topic in more depth. Next, be sure to ask each pair to share with the class what sort of conclusions they were able to come to in their discussions. Allowing students to first think on their own, then share with another student, and finally with the class as a whole both helps them to feel more comfortable when discussing their thoughts and allows them to revise their initial ideas, helping them learn valuable critical-thinking skills.
Another way that you can foster interactive learning in your classroom is by having students directly learn from their peers. Try this: write a problem on the board and have all of your students try to solve it on their own. When they are finished, reveal the answer and ask those who got it right to raise their hands, having the other students discuss with them about how they went about finding the answer. Not only does this method help students learn to clearly communicate, but it gives the ones who solved the problem a chance to further exercise their brains by having them explain their methods to other students.
Online teaching tools such as interactive videos are a great way to help students stay engaged, whether they’re in the classroom or not. Many instructional videos exist in a way that encourage discussion of a topic and ask students to ponder various questions during the video’s duration. Finding a video related to your class can be an exciting way to shake things up while still teaching your students the material. You can learn more about using videos in your classroom here.
Other useful tools for online learning are programs like Google Drive or Dropbox Paper, which can help students collaborate outside of the classroom. These programs often have a way that students can communicate, edit documents together, and share content. If there is a lot of outside work in your classroom, integrating collaborative online tools such as these is incredibly useful in keeping your students engaged.
Want to learn more about improving your lesson plan? Check out these tips: 3 Tips for Creating the Perfect STEM Lesson