Using Technology to Support Multiple Intelligences Theory

Instructor: Kim-Kathie Knudsen

Kim-Kathie has taught high school and college Spanish and has worked as a professional development specialist and instructional technology administrator. She has a master's degree in Teaching and Curriculum and is currently working on her doctorate in Educational Leadership.

All students learn differently according to the theory of multiple intelligences. Learn how to use technology in the classroom to appeal to learners of all types to help them meet learning objectives and standards.


Multiple intelligence

Kyle has a great idea for a lesson and spends hours preparing a lesson presentation and activity that he is sure is going to be a hit. However, as he is teaching, he looks out and finds a few students disengaged during the content presentation. Disappointed, he is determined to find a way to meet the needs of all of his learners. Sound familiar?

All students are different and it makes sense that all students learn differently. Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences suggests that all learners learn in a combination of eight different ways or intelligences:

  • Interpersonal intelligence- interacting with those around you
  • Intrapersonal intelligence- understanding of one's self
  • Linguistic intelligence- strength in language and words
  • Logical-mathematical intelligence-logic in reason, mathematics, and critical thinking
  • Visual-spatial intelligence- thinking and visualizing three dimensionally
  • Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence- control of one's bodily movements, physicality
  • Naturalistic intelligence- awareness and connection to nature
  • Musical intelligence- connection to rhythm and sound

Does Kyle need to incorporate all intelligences in every element of his lesson? That would be overwhelming, but fortunately, technology can support multiple intelligences in the classroom and add in elements to make learning in engaging for all learners.

Technology and Multimedia

Instructional technology can be used in the classroom as a tool for students but can be also used by teachers to engage and differentiate while appealing to learners of all types. Think of a typical lesson presentation; some students can learn about cellular reproduction by reading a journal article while others need to see a 3D image along with a narration. One size definitely does not fit all when it comes to learning and teachers can use simple technology tools to incorporate intelligences into lessons.

Technology can be support lessons in the following ways:

  • Present content- when designing engaging lessons, go beyond text to add images, visuals, gifs, 3D animations, modeling, and short video clips. Animations and videos along with supporting texts will appeal to students who learn through linguistic and visual-spatial intelligence. Add in real life scenes instead of clip art to resonate with those who learn through natural intelligence and connect to real-life learning.
  • Create a learning environment- music can be played in the background while students are participating in active learning to appeal to those who learn through music intelligence. Consider using technology tools to generate random groups to allow those who learn through intrapersonal intelligence to have variety in grouping.
  • Problem-based learning- to appeal to those who learn through logical-mathematical intelligence, pose critical questions that allow students to research using technology to answer.
  • Get active! Use technology to take a short brain break using Go Noodle or a quick YouTube dance video to get students moving during the lesson.

With a little planning, all students can be engaged during the lesson presentation!

Differentiate with technology

Technology is great to use as a teacher tool to appeal to all types of learners, but what about using instructional technology in a student-centered classroom to engage all of the intelligences? Consider using apps or technology tools to engage all learners during active learning and creation so students can use elements of technology to showcase what they have learned.

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