1. Gamify lessons. Friendly competition can improve focus and drive better results, which is why “gamification” is a hot trend in corporate training and educational circles. Teachers can “gamify” lessons by integrating competition into classroom presentations in a number of ways. For example, a gamification feature in presentation software can enable educators to set up teams or allow individual students to respond to embedded questions and display aggregate results on a screen; some software solutions also feature a leaderboard so everyone can monitor progress.

The types of games educators can incorporate in their classrooms varies widely, from quiz show-type games that allocate points based on correct responses and speed in answering questions to wagering-style competitions, in which teams can bet amassed points on their ability to provide a correct answer to questions. Students can provide answers using a keypad that comes with the software or an app on their mobile phones. A gamification approach is highly effective in getting all students involved in classroom activities and providing educators with data they can use to assess student progress.

2. Make top-down lectures a two-way conversation. Students who are used to highly interactive communication often have difficulty adjusting to traditional classroom lectures, where they are expected to silently take notes while the instructor speaks. Educators who are looking for new ways to engage students can turn top-down lectures into two-way conversations with technology. By embedding questions into presentation slides and allowing students to transmit answers via response technology, teachers can give students a voice in the classroom.

This approach is also useful for instructors who need to gauge students’ grasp of the topic on a real-time basis. When teachers embed questions into presentations and ask students to respond, they can display the results in chart form right in the presentation slide, which allows the instructor to assess the aggregate level of knowledge. Questions can be phrased as multiple choice, yes-or-no, or even open-ended—a format designed to assess conceptual understanding or enable the use of problem-solving techniques to arrive at the correct answer.

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