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Tech Tools for Providing More Choice

Tech Tools for Providing More Choice

As we all know, the more choice we can provide to students, the more likely it is that they will be engaged in learning. Edtech makes giving students a voice in their education easier than ever if you have the right tools, ideas, and policies. Here are some ways that technology can be used in the classroom to give students more options.

Choice in materials

In places in which data and/or text are used for study (which is pretty much everywhere), consider allowing students to find the materials that interest them and provide them with the ability to leverage those items in their learning.

For example, students have access to many more books than they probably realize—and for free! Apps like Libby by OverDrive bring e-books and audiobooks from your local library’s collection to a device with no worries about finding a ride to the nearest branch or incurring overdue fees. Your students probably know more about where to find free videos than you do, so let them explore. Just be watchful to make sure your students aren’t violating any copyright laws.

Choice in collaboration

There are practical reasons why certain students cannot work together in the classroom, but online collaboration may permit your students to overcome those hurdles. By allowing students to work together virtually using Google Docs, Slack, or other widely used collaboration programs, you open the door for students to work with others who may not be in their same class period or on their campus.

If you really embrace the idea of providing more choice in groups, you can work with a teacher in another school or even another country to provide ways for students to work together across borders. They can even reach out to experts via social media. Just make sure to vet their new “colleagues.”

Choice in production

Gone are the days of teachers having to stick to a poster project at the end of the grading period. Project-based learning has given rise to any number of ways that students can work toward solving problems and demonstrating their ideas. You may want to provide a menu of project options, especially for younger students, but always leave the door open for them to pitch ideas to you. You will often be amazed at what they come up with and how passionate they can be about their work when they’ve chosen what they want to accomplish.

Choice in assessment

Before modern technology, it was almost impossible to provide each student with an assessment experience tailor-made to their learning preferences, styles, and abilities. After all, paper tests tend to not be adaptable.

Now, high-quality online learning programs come with prescriptive assessments that find a student’s learning gaps and suggest methods to fill them. Students work at their own individual pace, whether it is faster or slower than the norm. If they have certain disabilities or preferences, those can be accounted for. Prescription frees up teachers to work with students on a more individual basis and assign work that could be more remedial than needed.

Looking for more ways to innovate in your class? Check out these five tips for creating an inquiry-based classroom!