Technology has become an integral part of teaching and instructing students. It allows them to develop critical thinking skills, learn new concepts and creatively express their own ideas. Technology also enables educators to accommodate the three main learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.
Even teachers who prefer a traditional lecture teaching style can use a few technological tools to supplement the material. If the teacher has access to a computer, laptop, project, or iPad, then these tools can meet the specific needs of each type of learner.
Visual learning students learn best by reading directions or seeing a demonstration. They often need to see concepts and facts through pictures, diagrams and charts.
Teachers can use technology to produce visual aids to help these students understand the lesson. For example, teachers can create a PowerPoint that outlines key points and includes pictures or diagrams. This simple practice helps visual learners focus and understand the material better.
Students also respond well to helpful YouTube videos where specialists elaborate on difficult subjects such as chemistry or physics. A popular internet duo, John and Hank Green, created a YouTube channel called “vlogbrothers.” There, they post educational videos about a variety of subjects. The videos often include many graphics and pictures. Teachers can use these short but informative videos to help visual learners conclude a class unit.
Auditory learning students comprehend and remember information through listening and speaking. Presentations and public speaking assignments accommodate this learning style. However, technology can also enhance these students’ educational experience.
With Skype, students can connect with classrooms around the world. They can listen to guest speakers who specialize in certain topics. Some foreign language teachers enjoy connecting their class with native speakers. This can help the students further develop conversational skills.
For younger age groups, teachers can reach visual learners through an iPad app called Me Books. The app allows students to choose from a variety of children’s books featuring characters such as Peppa Pig and Peter Rabbit. Students can read along as a voice recording reads aloud. They can also choose to record their own voices as they practice reading. Some of the books cost money, but auditory learners can greatly benefit from hearing their own voice sound out new words.
Kinesthetic learners need to perform interactive activities to understand new concepts. They thrive while working on hands-on projects. Technology offers many ways of accommodating this learning style.
Many websites offer free, interactive programs to help students learn content in almost any subject. For instance, the University of Colorado Boulder operates a website called PHeT Interactive Simulations that offers educational games to help with math and science. If kinesthetic learners need extra help with chemistry, they can play games where they build an atom themselves or perform an online experiment to learn about solubility.
Educational apps on tablets and smartphones can also help kinesthetic learners. Some apps go beyond the main school subjects by introducing young students to computer science. Hakitzu: Code of the Warrior is a free app that teaches children how to code as they play a game. Kinesthetic learners learn best when information is presented as an interactive game.
As teachers integrate technology into their lesson plans, they can use various technological tools to reach all types of students. Some online activities or tablet apps often use a combination of visuals, sounds, and interactive objectives which engage visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners. Whenever students use technology in the classroom, there’s a possibility of at-risk behavior and cyberbullying. Monitoring software like LearnSafe helps administrators recognize at-risk behavior so they can help their most vulnerable students.
Text by Melissa Lawrence