"School is boring."
That’s a highly offensive statement to most educators, but it’s unfortunately true for a majority of students, especially high schoolers. In an article for Harvard’s Ed Magazine, Zachary Jason referenced a 2015 Gallup poll that found 60% of high school students felt disengaged from their studies. Jason concluded, “the evidence suggests that, on a daily basis, the vast majority of teenagers seriously contemplate banging their heads against their desks.”
One class that is notorious for boring students is English class. Just the mention of grammar will elicit groans from anyone within earshot, and it’s easy to see why students wouldn’t want to spend hours slogging through a Shakespeare play when they have instant access to intensely entertaining content burning holes in their pockets.
How can you solve this problem?
We think it’s best to fight fire with fire by heavily involving classroom technology in English class—whether K12 or college. Here are some ideas for engaging students in English class with technology.
Bring the Classics to Life
With classroom camera technology like visualizers and auto tracking cameras, teachers have a universe of options for getting students deeply involved in the literature they’re studying. Here are a few of the unlimited possibilities:
- Work with students to make a stop-motion video of a classic short story or a simple scene from a novel with a visualizer. The overhead camera held steady on a mechanical arm enables you to easily use paper cutouts if you don’t have the time to make clay models.
- Livestream a play with an auto tracking camera. Click & Track target switching makes it easy for the teacher or one of the more shy students to direct the camera to follow different actors in an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet or a spooky production of Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
- Let students make modern interpretations of old stories using their cell phones to film and simple video editing software to edit. If your classroom has an Interactive Control Box, students can wirelessly share their finished short films to the classroom display from their desks. Also, you can connect a visualizer to the control box to show examples of scripts and costume designs during the preparation stage.
Next time you’re in front of a classroom full of bored students, announce one of these projects and watch them perk up!
Make Grammar and Spelling Interesting
Even when it comes time to teach the dreaded subjects of grammar and spelling, technology can help you keep students interested. Again, here are a few ideas for inspiration:
- Using an Interactive Control Box’s embedded Android system, you can do a quick Google search and show hilarious grammar mistakes that appear on public signs. Then, let students search for their own favorites, share them to the display, and explain why they’re funny and how to fix them.
- Partner with a ESL class in another country and have students teach the grammar concepts they’ve learned to young learners. All you need is a laptop and a USB visualizer to pair with a VC platform.
- Host a hybrid spelling bee. Students in the classroom and those learning from home can compete together for spelling glory.
English teachers no longer have to drown students in pages and pages of reading assignments, writing projects, and confusing sentences to diagram. Make sure your classroom is up-to-date with the latest learning technology, and give students the English foundation they need to succeed.