How to Bring Digital Content into Your Classroom
The summer is a great time to incorporate digital tools and strategies into an education program. Sometimes, educators face a daunting task: Adding digital content for classes. And it can be a challenge to create the right tools that will make digital content more useful to students.
There’s still a lot of work to be done to integrate digital content into the classroom, and some of that will require reevaluating the way existing content is presented, says Lindsay MacPherson, a technologist at SmartUP for Learning, a Nashville-based educational consulting company.
With these tips, you can create digital content that works with what you have.
Bring Fun and Tech Into Class. Help students feel comfortable with digital tools in their daily lives—and introduce digital tools as part of lessons and projects.
“The best part of a digital student is that they like using tech and have really good problem-solving skills that often result in being able to engage in more intuitive and methodical ways with their own technology,” MacPherson says. “Instead of worrying about trying to fit that in the textbook when we’re talking about language arts, we can allow students to use other resources on their own and do research that way.”
Include Interactive Content for Storytelling. According to MacPherson, interactive materials are not gimmicks. Rather, these digital options can improve teaching and learning.
For example, with interactive textbooks like SparkNotes, educators can provide students with real-time access to additional content about books to create better explanations. Interactive lesson plans also can help students gain an understanding of content and highlight the messages a teacher wishes to convey.
As an added bonus, interactive material may help to drive home the message to students that they need to “get to the point” with their reading or writing. “The learners at SparkNotes love being able to see how they’re getting to the point of a story,” MacPherson says.
Interact with Students via Video. “We really need to help students understand the important role that video can play in their education,” MacPherson says. “I can imagine using video in a way where kids can interact with the content.”
For example, an interactive video-creation program like Google Hangouts can help students learn basic skills and help them bond with others. “Kids can get to know their peers better, and video is a great way to do that,” MacPherson says.
Communicate with Students Using Social Media. Teaching adults about social media isn’t as difficult as it was for students. That said, connecting with students through social media is essential.
“[Students] have been active in creating their own content, so their eye for content and learning is already really sharp,” MacPherson says.
With the right digital tools in place, educators can highlight the social media lessons their students are already doing. Students will appreciate having an opportunity to do so.