It’s impossible to understate the importance of interactive learning ina school environment, especially as recent developments in technology have, in turn,brought about ground-breaking changes to the way that kids learn.In essence, interactive learning espouses a “hands-on” approach which goes above and beyond textbooks to encourage student engagement and knowledge retention. Far from being a method of teaching reserved for only elementary-level students, the notion of the interactive classroom has been realised even at the highest stages of education (we’re talking tertiary institutions like Harvard!) -  but if you still need more convincing,have a read of the following benefits.

 

Student engagement

 

Often, students can feel disengaged and distanced from their teacher, particularly if said teacher stays rooted at their desk doling out instructions for the lesson’s duration. Interactive learning is a prime opportunity to avoid this kind of passive information retention, as according to research, the majority of students learn more – up to 60% more, in fact – interacting (with a resource, or other people) than they do reading. Asking students to reconstitute what they’ve learnt in other forms – paraphrasing, the creation of a short animation, or a mindmap – will ensure that their brains remain engaged.

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No lesson is the same

 

If you know anything about kids, you’ll understand that they get bored very quickly – which means that if they know they’re in for the same kind of rote learning in every single class, they’ll soon distract themselves with things other than learning. Hence why switching up modes of learning is so vital.Even if only one interactive-learning exercise is planned for the lesson, the student will – because of the game played, or the debate had, or the websites visited on the SmartBoard - be able to better differentiate between each class and the subjectscovered in it.

 

Student-to-student interaction

 

In recent years, experts have discovered that if a question is posed to a small group of students rather than to just one learner, the answer is worked out and recalled more effectively. So, rather than asking your class to write down their answers independently, why not make use of the pupils in the class to enhance interpersonal skills and learning? Debates and role-plays are a wonderful way to formalise discussions like this and to encourage confidence in oral speaking in the members of the class.

 

Forging a connection to the “real world”

 

Traditional teaching methods have come under fire in recent decades for failing to properly equip children with the tools needed to navigate the twenty-first-centuryworld. Interactive learning tempers that problem by teaching students more universally-applicable critical and problem-solving skills. Much of the time, this teaching will be achieved via digital and technological means in the classroom, allowing teachers to put into practice the web-related tools that have become so central to modern life and work. Better yet, studies show that up to 80% of students perceive the use of technological aids to improve the teaching of their instructors.

 

Alerting students to the educational potential of technology

 

We’ve mentioned the teacher’s use of interactive tools, but what about the students’? Though it may seem a little risky to let the class loose on computers and iPads, these devices are in fact a wonderful way to awaken young people to the educational dimensions of technology.There are, of course, a couple of boundaries that have to be put in place so that students stay on track. You may have to block certain social media websites, for example – but once those kinks are ironed out, you can introduce the class to a whole world of invaluable e-learning resources, from Google Scholar to Quizlet. A generation of innovative learners, coming up!

 

Based in New Zealand, Johanna Cider is a freelance writer with a passion for children, technology and travel. Johanna has written on behalf of NZ businesses such as Jumpflex Trampolines.

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