3. Blended engagement

One of the benefits of this modern age is that teachers are no longer bound by a single source or medium to provide content, allowing them to curate information from a variety of sources and create a balance of interactive and collaborative activities. I try to incorporate videos, recorded lectures, podcasts, simulations and other tools into my lessons to broaden perspectives on a given topic and give students new ways to engage with the content that may be better suited to their varied learning styles.

A digital curriculum does not mean that students need to sit behind a computer screen all day long. We can design learning experiences that have students developing collaborative research, giving presentations, engaging in peer-editing discussions, reading books, performing experiments, and even attending lectures. I often enjoy using programs like Kahoot! to create games and quizzes that reinforce the material we cover in ways that help foster creativity, collaboration, and communication skills.

4. Relevance

I’ve found that no matter which technology tools we use, students want to know why they are learning something, and with good reason. Just as consumers want to know why a product will be useful, students are more engaged when they know how they can apply the knowledge they’re gaining.

I take the time to include background knowledge and mini-lessons in my curriculum so that students can see why they are learning about specific concepts and information, and how they connect to other topics they’ve learned or will encounter in the future. It also helps create a narrative for all of us and see how we are building a set of knowledge over time together.

5. Pick the right partners

In the rush to digitize content in the K-12 space, the connection between student learning and learner experience has often been overlooked and teachers aren’t always familiar with the attributes that make digital content effective or the right fit for their classroom. As a result, teachers may need some guidance in learning how technology can unlock opportunities to transform what teachers do within analog classrooms.

My best advice is to look at the research and select educational software with strong foundations in learning design that offer a variety of pathways for teachers to create the best possible learning experience.

About the Author:

Mike Saenz is an English teacher at Falls Career High School in Marble Falls, Texas. He has been teaching for over nine years and regularly shares his knowledge with other educators.