How technology helps create student-centered classrooms.
You can individualize the learning experience.
With technology you can implement individualized learning in your classroom. Once you have mapped the dominant learning styles of your students, you can create a bank of learning tools for them. The array of available options includes- videos, podcasts, virtual labs, manipulatives, etc. Student can select tools from this bank, and begin learning their standards. Individualized learning gives them control over how they learn; what they learn; and when they learn.
Students get multiple options to demonstrate their knowledge.
The traditional model of classroom learning has limitations. It only facilitates instruction. There are severe limitations on how a student can express his knowledge. Moreover, it hinders their expressions. Not all solutions can be expressed on paper. Not every student can explain their essay to the class.
In this regard, technology offers multiple choices. Students can create videos, sketch their solutions, compile power-points presentations, or code their solution into a computer program.
It empowers the collaborative learning experience.
Collaborative classrooms are essentially student-centered. In a collaborative atmosphere, students become participants, and peers become fellow explorers. Student groups engage in cooperative activities – they discuss lectures, work together on projects, complete group assignments, share ideas, and create solutions.
Tools like, GAFE, Wikispace classroom and Edmodo are well-known collaboration tools. You can group students, assign work, monitor, intervene and assess their progress. Students can connect with peers, teachers, parents, and ask for help.
You can model student attitude. Make them more learning-centric.
Active participation is the key to positive student attitude. Their success depends on their degree of participation. As I wrote earlier, there are severe limitations to traditional classrooms. They are designed for the purpose of receiving instruction, not for expressing what you have learned. This severely limits the degree of student participation.
To encourage active participation, you need tools that allow students the freedom to experiment without the scare of being judged. 21st century digital tools have brilliantly filled this need. They are easy to use, reward learning, and keep students engaged with learning. Kids love to use them.
You should check Allan Carrington’s Pedagogy wheel. It could be of great help for you.
Give effective feedback. Offer immediate remediation.
Next key to a successful student-centered classroom is feedback. Feedback is the most important pedagogic instrument in your toolkit. However, traditional model is slow in collecting feedback, thus, most often, fails to achieve the desired effect.
In a technology-based classroom, student activities are monitored in real-time. This offers precious insights into their learning habits. This makes your feedback more effective and helps you personalize it.
Moreover, several online programs generate automated feedback, and suggest remediation too. This allows students to monitor their own learning, and improve upon their performance.
You can reduce the number of classroom tests.
The very purpose of an assessment is to take a note of student growth. Assessments help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your students. Moreover, it helps you ascertain if your kids are career and college ready. Unfortunately, this statement translates into ‘regular classroom testing.’ Although necessary; too much testing can actually hinder student growth.
How to solve this dilemma?
All you need is a proper selection of tech tools. Several tools allow you to embed testing parameters into classwork itself. You can embed these parameters into an assignment, classroom practice, or a project. This would not allow you to reduce the number of formal tests. Moreover, your measurements would become more effective.
Technology can help you empower self-reflection skills.
Self-evaluation skills are necessary for achieving self-sufficiency. It is essential for the success of your student-centered classroom. This allows them to reflect over what they learned, and what they missed.
Digital tools reduce students’ dependency over your actions. Students can self-trigger practice-sessions, and take tests whenever they want to access their skills. This allows them to understand their strengths and weaknesses, and helps them understand their growth over the year.
Supports personalized learning
Achieving personalization in a classroom setup is extremely tricky. It requires routine performance monitoring and acute understanding of student growth, for every student in a classroom. Moreover, the pressure of completing the curriculum further diminishes the possibility of implementing a personalized learning program.
With digital technology, you can. What you need is properly-mapped learning programs. A good program would present your students with the most suitable choice of standards; allow them an array of tools to select from, and suggest remediation when necessary; and at the same time, allow teachers to be in total control of students’ learning process.
It helps you integrate game-based learning into everyday activities
Games-based learning helps you embed concepts, their applications and assessments into interesting fun activities. Rather than organizing exhaustive and boring math drills, you can invite your students to create solutions with the concepts they were taught in the class. Again, a large array of game-based math programs are available; you must select the one that suit your students.
Game-based learning has another advantage – instead of pondering upon which concept to use; your students would learn to concentrate upon the ‘what’, ‘whys’, ‘how’ and the ‘where’.