Why interaction matters in the classroom

Interaction matters. The notion of the classroom as a silent learning environment in which students copy down endless text written by the teacher on the blackboard or whiteboard belongs to a different time

Today, many teachers realise the value of making the classroom more of an interactive environment in which topics can be debated, practical demonstrations are carried out, lesson plans can vary on the fly, and new, cutting-edge technologies can help shake up learning as we know it.

Why is interaction in the classroom so important? How can technology like the Elmo Board help with this?

Here are four crucial points to consider;

1. Interaction is great for student engagement

Visuals are good for student learning, helping information to be communicated more quickly, aiding with comprehension and ensuring that the points in question are retained for longer. Interactive displays like those made by Elmo enliven the classroom environment. A breakthrough lesson support system, the Elmo Board is a large touchscreen display for the classroom, complete with its own dedicated apps and a camera called the Visualizer that can be used for instantly throwing visual materials on screen – for everything from showing off live science experiments to carrying out live annotations of work. It can also play videos and far more, for an experience that’s a world away from the tired “chalk writing on a blackboard” of yesteryear.

If interaction isn’t part of the classroom, learning can become stilted and passive. On the other hand, by incorporating interactive technologies like the Elmo Board, it becomes more engaging and memorable. That can only be a good thing.

2. It means that no two lessons have to be the same

Teachers may have a lesson plan ahead of time, but embracing interactivity means that, while the destination might remain the same, the journey to get there can change. No two classes are alike, in terms of the questions students want to ask and, potentially, the ability levels of those learners. By embracing interactivity, teachers can adapt to the live environment of the classroom to create a more bespoke lesson that could branch off in unexpected directions. That can be great for learners and educators alike.

3. It roots learning in the real world

One frequent criticism of some of the traditional approaches to classroom teaching is that it’s not obvious to students how this relates to the world around them. Discussing a formula in maths or a cellular process in biology might be important for teachers to cover, but if students find it too abstract they may fail to properly take it on board or realise why it matters.

However, by rooting this kind of learning in the real world – perhaps through the use of a live experiment or a video demonstration – teachers can get students to better appreciate the relevance of these important lessons. Teaching is, after all, about preparing students to function and solve problems in the world, so this approach is a great way of enhancing that goal.

4. It can develop other important student skills

Preparing students to pass exams is important. But school and the classroom is about a lot more than that – it’s also there to help develop rounded, confident learners who feel comfortable expressing themselves and asking questions. Cultivating that kind of environment is something a greater focus on interactivity can help with.

Peer interaction can help even introverted students out of their shell, allowing them to participate in conversations that will help build confidence and enhance learning outcomes and understanding of different topics. If teachers decide to lean into interactivity in the classroom, that opens the door to more active engagement by students: making learning a two-way communication channel in the process.

 

Join ELMO in their special presentation: https://edtechnology.co.uk/live-panel/upcoming/special-presentation-bringing-stem-to-life/ 

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