A version of this post was originally published in FutureScot, on October 5, 2021.
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, you most likely remember the fun classes. Teachers who make learning come alive will always find a way to make their lessons captivating.
Even Ancient Romans associated the concept of elementary school (ludus) with play (ludere). When learning is fun, students are more likely to be interested in what you’re teaching, be more relaxed during the class, and better retain information.
However, over the last two years, students of all ages have experienced widespread disruption and uncertainty in their education experience. As schools closed down and classes moved online or in hybrid learning environments, the idea of having fun while learning was put on the back burner.
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, edtech tools can support educators in achieving just that.
Mixing education and entertainment in the classroom
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.
An increasing number of teachers are keen to infuse edutainment into their classes. So 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:
1. Video classes
Video is everywhere. From online streaming platforms to short video clips, they grab your attention by 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.
2. Learning games
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 classroom activities, whether with the help of apps, websites, or your school learning management system.
Games help motivate students thanks to the reward system that you 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.
3. Virtual field trips
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 VR set. Not only that, but there are also a lot of online platforms that present 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 class, engaging students right from the start.
4. Next-level collaboration
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.
5. Personalized content
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 personalized 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 understanding learning gaps and addressing them right away.
While learning is a serious matter, that doesn’t mean that the way you teach should follow the traditional path. Depending on your teaching style and class goals, you can successfully integrate edtech tools and develop innovative edutainment activities that your students will love and remember for a long time.
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and NEO. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author and educator.