What is Interactive Learning? - Overview & Tools

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  • 0:01 In the Classroom
  • 0:48 With Technology
  • 2:14 Without Technology
  • 3:38 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lindy Hatten

Lindy has a M.Ed in TESOL with a Cross-Cultural concentration from Saint Mary's College of California. She has taught for 25 years at the secondary and university levels.

Interactive learning is a hands-on approach to help students become more engaged and retain more material. With or without a form of technology, interactive learning helps students strengthen problem solving and critical thinking skills.

In the Classroom

Education seems to be constantly changing. Students are no longer expected to sit at a desk and take notes on a lecture. Lessons are much more engaging and interactive.

Interactive learning is a hands-on, real-world approach to education. According to Stanford University School of Medicine, 'Interactive learning actively engages the students in wrestling with the material. It reinvigorates the classroom for both students and faculty. Lectures are changed into discussions, and students and teachers become partners in the journey of knowledge acquisition.'

Interactive learning can take many different forms. Students strengthen their critical thinking and problem-solving skills using a much more holistic approach to learning. Interactive learning can take place across the curriculum with or without technology. Let's look at both.

With Technology

As schools advance and add technology to the classroom, lessons also become more engaging for students. In the area of math, for example, there are hundreds of interactive programs for students to use in elementary and secondary school. Generally, students ask for more technology based, engaging activities, but that is not the case with math worksheets!

Historical interactive activities are available online to engage the history or social studies students. Some activities ask students to become involved and learn more about journeying to a new world. There is a variety of science activities available as well. Students can learn about astronomy or animals and the environment. One interactive program has students pretend they are inventors, and they invent something new.

Language arts also has many interactive options available. For younger or beginning English students, there are numerous websites to review parts of speech, grammar, or vocabulary. Word games such as hangman, crosswords, or word scrambles are also easy to find.

If available in the classroom, smartboards are an excellent tool to allow students to interact with the material and each other. A smartboard is a large interactive board attached to the classroom wall similar to a whiteboard. The main difference is that the smartboard uses touch detection to create a much more interactive lesson.

Technology has brought the world into the classroom. Interactive lessons are at a student's, parent's or teacher's fingertips.

Without Technology

But teachers do not always have computers available in the classroom. This is no problem, as interactive learning can happen across the curriculum without a computer. The whole point of interactive learning is to involve the student, engage critical thinking, and avoid passive learning.

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