There has been an increasing push for use of technology in the classroom, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. In particular, technologies such as SMART Boards have been touted as a way to increase classroom interactivity. For those whose budgets do not permit such investments, there are easy alternatives to create an interactive classroom environment.
Dry Erase Lap Boards
One of the advantages of classroom tech is to quickly take a poll of the room to determine how many students understand the lesson. Getting each student a dry erase lap board and marker can mimic the results of these real-time polls. Ask questions and get immediate feedback to take the pulse of your classroom.
Sometimes, students can be shy about speaking up to say they don’t understand a question. Some interactive tech programs allow students to anonymously query the teacher. A simple low-tech solution is to have each student have a small traffic light on his or her desk. Moving an arrow to “yellow” or “red” means they’re having trouble keeping up. This is an unobtrusive way to assess student learning.
Hands On Science Demonstrations
Many teachers use interactive tech to teach about science, but hands on demonstrations can be even more effective. Learning about the human brain? Find a model that allows each student to hold the brain and study its parts in detail.
One of the concerns with in-class brainstorming is that some ideas might be regarded as stupid, preventing students from speaking up. To replace interactive brainstorming technology, use a simple low-tech solution: give every student three pieces of paper. Ask each person to write down three ideas to solve a particular problem, no matter how wild they may seem. Walk around with a hat, collect the responses, and read each one aloud. Tally the responses into unique categories to give students a glimpse into how the hive mind works.
An e-Reader Substitute
The vocabulary tools built into many classroom e-readers are very popular. However, you can find a lower tech solution by asking a designated student to be the vocabulary generator. During group reading, ask students to raise their hands when they encounter an unknown word. The vocabulary generator will look up the word in the dictionary, writing the definition on the board.
School Specialty is a leading supplier of classroom supplies that can transform your classroom into an interactive learning environment. Visit the School Specialty website today to find out how you can invest in interactive technology alternatives.