How to Get Students to Pay Attention Using Technology

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Remember the days when you would sit in a classroom listening to the monotone voice of a teacher buzzing in the air and fight a bout of sleepiness?  How many times did you have to mentally shake yourself awake or wish that bell would ring?
Today, however, teachers can engage their students in a variety of ways using technology.  Many teachers have found that the implement of educational technology in their learning environment encourages students to learn.  If you are looking for ideas to attract your students’ attention, here are some things to consider.

Learning Management Systems
Learning management systems use a variety of technology tools to keep students interested in the subject being taught.  These systems may combine the use of online videos, clickers, managing groups, and blackboards to encourage class participation.  Teachers can monitor students’ responses and upload related material within seconds to every student’s monitor or tablet.
One of the advantages of using learning management systems is that you can learn more about your students’ individual learning styles.  As you know, some students learn best through auditory methods while others learn better when they use hands-on methods.  These systems use a combination of teaching methods which engage students, regardless of their learning style.  You can incorporate colorful images, videos, and text that catch students’ attention and keep them entertained as they are learning.  Students can also use their monitor to send feedback and questions to you instead of raising their hand.  This facilitates more student participation since some students do not feel comfortable drawing attention to themselves in the classroom, and builds upon the teacher/student relationship.

Educational Technology Instigates Learning
Using educational technology in your classroom will instigate learning among your students, encouraging themto explore the world around them and think about what they are seeing and hearing. Ideas of how to engage students that partner excellently with LMS are discussed thoroughly by Jeff Dunn on edudemic.com in a recent and well utilized article. His approach to learning is based around the ideas that though we have these tools to use, there are still ways to keep students engaged instead of distracted.

Personal Response Systems
Personal response systems, also simply known as clickers, are an effective tool in the classroom.  Similar to those used on game shows, you can show students a question on the large screen and then ask them to click in their answer.  The answers immediately alert you to concepts that the students are struggling with, so that you can slow down the day’s lesson to explain the concept in greater detail.  In this way, instruction becomes more customized and students will be able to comprehend issues that in a traditional setting they would have struggled with.

Desktop Sharing
Every teacher has at least one or two students (maybe more) in their class who never speak up.  For some students, the idea of speaking out loud in a classroom is just too stressful.  For others, they may worry that students will laugh at them, or they may struggle with putting their thoughts into speech.  Desktop sharing can bridge those gaps, giving students another alternative to speaking—writing.   Writing gives students time to think about what they want to say and then correct their speech as they write down their opinion, strengthening their writing skills.

Presentation Technology
Technology can encourage the creative side of your students.  For example, you could form groups and then assign them to come up with a presentation of a specific concept, or topic, using technology.  This gives students the opportunity to apply what you have been teaching them and then expand upon the information, conducting independent research and putting that data into a visual presentation using a variety of programs.  Students learn to work together, preparing them for a work environment, and gives them experience with public speaking while letting them put their own angle on the subject.
For instance, if you were teaching a history class and the focus was on World War II, you could assign one group of students to put together a presentation on German battle strategy, one group to focus on American strategy, and one group to talk about British strategy.
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