Do boys benefit from using technology to learn over girls? One argument for this would be their desire over girls to be competitive, and having learning happen in a “gamification”. By Brad Hines 8-20-13
Here are some great tips for using technology in the classroom:
-Encourage children, especially boys, to use MOOCS–massive open online courses– like KhanAcademy.org for instance, that have built-in gaming aspects. This writer for one remembers as a child excelling in math because I was taught it was one big game, and my favorite games themselves where ones involving math. I loved the competition. So encourage the students in the non-classroom time to utilize such courses to brush up, or tackle topics head on.
-You don’t always need a chalkboard to teach with of course, so if you haven’t yet, consider using a digital projector, and a laptop hookup and displaying your screen to the whole class.
-Implement competitions whenever possible, especially in a class of all boys. A great one is to enlist parents in a program where the student’s daily minutes of reading outside of the classroom will be counted, to be reported the next day and displayed on the projector in an excel sheet. Show them how you enter the data in.
By the way, when students can visibly see everyone’s minutes reading, mixed with the proper praise from the teacher; it encourages them to both please the teacher, best the others, and most importantly to best themselves. Use the whole competition–maybe lasting a couple weeks or so maybe going towards a party of some sort–to teach emotionally that each child should really aim to first and foremost to top their own score.
-Have them track some kind of data they will find on the Internet, and make them write observations on it, for example have them track the weather for your town via Google for two weeks.
As a final word on the matter of tech in the class, do let’s remember that education has both happened and worked successfully for centuries without digital technology. Let’s continue to blend using a variety of procedures for learning in the classroom, including traditional components, e.g. white boards, paper, books, black boards etc.