Bridging the communication gap between teacher and student can be one of the most challenging aspects of traditional classroom education. Entertaining a large group of students enough to keep their attention throughout a whole lecture can be frustrating and feel impossible. Luckily, technology may be the answer to your prayers. There are many cell phone applications that have practical uses for the classroom and can help you connect and engage with your students more efficiently.
1) Chatting Apps
While texting can be distracting, group chat apps that exclusively utilize the members of your class can be a fun and engaging way to encourage dialogue and increase classroom connections. These apps can be fun and social and help your student feel connected to both you and your content. There are many apps that require an invitation from teacher to student to join the network, and user activity can be monitored and tracked. This is a great way to give out participation grades and to see how your students are working together as a team
2) Polling Apps
One of the best ways to get your students engaged in your classroom material is to ask them questions, but you cannot possibly quiz each of them. What do you do? Classroom polling apps allow you to pose a group question and to track the answers of each of your students. Students can answer posed questions directly from their cellphones and the total answers can be compiled and projected onto a screen. For instance, if you ask a question with answers “A”, “B”, and “C”, the percentage of students that chose each answer are quickly compiled and generated by the app. This takes out any fear of getting the answer wrong or speaking out incorrectly. This way, students can participate in answering questions and can quickly see what their fellow classmates are thinking as well. Polling apps are a fun way to garner classroom involvement: if a student does not answer you will be able to see. This will encourage both attendance and participation.
3) Attendance Applications
It is common knowledge that attending class is the only truly effective way for students to learn and comprehend classroom material. While high school students may have a harder time skipping class, college students are notorious for not attending. An attendance app will generate a random code that you post as the teacher. The students in attendance will punch the code into their app. While there is room for cheating here (students may text each other the code, for instance), many of these applications are equipped with a GPS function. This simply means that if the student is not in attendance, the code will not be accepted, and they will be marked absent. This makes cheating the system almost impossible and will encourage students to show up.
4) Online Student Portfolios
Many applications are great for compiling an online student portfolio. It is wise to compile and collect your students best work for future reference. This will help with job hunts and resume writing in the future.
Technology is the future; both in and outside of the classroom. Utilizing classroom applications is a great way to connect, engage with, and challenge your students.