Putting the fun back into learning with edtech and edutainment
Life is all about learning, no matter how young or old you are. If you close your eyes for a second and think back to your school years, it will be the fun and exciting classes that are most memorable. Teachers who make learning come alive will always find a way to make their lessons captivating.
Even Ancient Romans associated the concept of primary school (ludus) with play (ludere). When learning is fun, students are more likely to be interested in what you’re teaching, feel more relaxed during the class and therefore be better able to retain information.
Over the past 18 months, however, students of all ages have experienced widespread disruption and uncertainty in their education experience. As schools closed during lockdowns and classes moved online or into hybrid learning environments, the idea of having fun while learning was put on the backburner.
As we look ahead to teaching and learning post-pandemic, finding ways to put the joy back into learning will be crucial to help boost student engagement and motivation. Besides ensuring continuous access to education despite all state-mandated restrictions, edtech tools can support educators achieve just that.
Mixing education and entertainment
Edutainment is a great way to teach, both in traditional and remote classes. Plus, it works for students of all ages. Besides adding an interesting twist to learning, it encourages creativity, motivates young minds and provides better comprehension.
There is an increasing number of teachers who are keen to infuse edutainment into their classes. The benefits that it offers are tremendous when it comes to supporting future generations with the skills needed to succeed.
There are plenty of ways to bring fun into the classroom. Teachers can use videos, games, and other types of media to create an engaging experience for their students. Here are a few ideas on how you can use edtech to bring edutainment into the classroom and create a fun and inspiring learning experience for students.
Video is everywhere. From online streaming platforms to short video clips, they grab your attention by being entertaining. The good thing is that there are many online tools that teachers can use to create video lessons with little technical knowledge.
Short videos are ideal for giving examples of concepts that you are teaching. After all, you can be as creative as you want. More so, you can also ask students to come up with their own ideas and create video-based books, lessons, or other concepts.
Games are not only entertaining but also a great way to increase interest in learning. Games draw attention and make students more confident in their learning. There are plenty of possibilities to include educational games in class activities, whether with the help of apps (such as GooseChace, Quizlet), websites (Kahoot!, GimKit), or your school learning management system.
Games help motivate students thanks to the reward system that teachers can set up beforehand. Additionally, gathering points and badges, being on leaderboards, and collecting trophies encourage a fun, competitive spirit between students, and give them a boost to continue their learning journey.
Probably the best part about edtech tools is that they don’t limit creativity. As a teacher, you can go on a virtual journey at any given moment, and we all know just how much students love field trips or interacting with their peers around the world.
When teaching about African fauna, for example, you can invite students to look at the animals through a Virtual Reality (VR) set. Not only that, but there are also a lot of online platforms that give students the chance to glimpse into countries all over the world, museums, art galleries, national parks, stadiums, and more. These online resources are like a breath of fresh air in any type of class, engaging students right from the start.
Collaboration and personalisation
Group activities help develop communication, collaboration, and teamwork skills, which are much-needed for the 21st-century workplace and life in general. Divide your class into groups and assign responsibilities such as research, design, creation, and presentation.
During these classes, students are allowed to laugh, comment, discuss different matters and express themselves in a more comfortable manner. When there is a sense of community in class, students are more confident to ask teachers for clarification instead of turning to their parents or online resources, thus getting just-in-time support in their learning journey.
Students have individual needs and preferences when it comes to their learning. Some of them understand the materials right away while others would rather replay video lessons one more time.
Edtech makes it easy to provide personalised instruction so each student can achieve their own learning goals, not just meet the required standards. Teachers can use adaptive learning to show students content and assignments based on their performance. This approach is effective when it comes to pinpointing and understanding student learning gaps and addressing them right away.
Teaching and learning does not have to be confined to traditional pathways and methodologies. Depending on your teaching style and class goals, you can successfully integrate edtech tools and create with innovative edutainment activities that your students will love and remember for a long time.
Graham Glass is the chief executive of CYPHER LEARNING, a company specialising in providing e-learning platforms for organisations around the world. For more insightful articles on EdTech, visit the NEO Blog.