Teaching a hands-on subject like science with digital tools requires new approaches but also presents opportunities to expand learning horizons for diverse learners. Today’s focus on STEM highlights the movement to prepare students for future-ready careers. Skeptics of digital learning can be reminded that today’s scientists use powerful computers in research, communication and innovation every day. So what’s wrong with students mastering science with the tools of the trade?
Although online learning is an unmatched paradigm shift, the right digital supplements can unlock potential for even the least motivated of students. And there are benefits for teachers too. Digital learning facilitates differentiation and accommodation from within the activities and lessons, reducing prep time for teachers. But teachers still have an important role in the successful implementation of digital curriculum. We’ll explore simple tips and tricks that turn a fully-connected science classroom into the ideal environment that supports enriched learning and the cultivation of the next generation of STEM leaders.
Establish Learning Goals and Relevance on Day One
For students and teachers getting accustomed to digitally-based curriculum materials, the wealth of information that lies just a click away can be a tempting distraction. Before launching a new unit, gather everyone’s attention and establish the learning goals of the unit the class is about to embark on. Have that goal visible for all to see, whether it’s on the whiteboard or pinned to a digital classroom page. If students ever stray from the content and overall learning journey, having clear goals makes it easier to redirect and refocus.
Active Learning Results in Better Outcomes
Students and teachers have a complicated relationship with lecturing. Some surveys suggest that most students prefer lecturing, but the data reveal that active learning is better for positive learning outcomes and the retention of knowledge and skills. Although K-12 data is lacking, a study of Harvard students found that those who learned via traditional lecture scored 10% lower on average than their peers who were taught the same material via active learning. Fortunately, digital resources provide ample opportunity to extend learning to digital laboratory exercises, content-related games and real-world applications. These are just a few of the many interactive resources in the hundreds of ready-made science lessons within Boardworks.
Take It Slow – and Then Take It a Step Further
Pacing can make or break learning outcomes for students. This is especially true in the sciences. Interactive digital supplements present the opportunity for students to work at their own pace with the support of the teacher and embedded content supports. Boardworks science resources are customizable and easy-access, empowering teachers with the capability to adjust the content as they see fit. In science, students can get overwhelmed and feel defeated if they fall behind. There’s nothing worse than a student losing confidence in themselves because of the rigor of something as wonderful and rewarding as science. But with our turnkey library of science activities, lessons and supplements, all students are immersed in enriched learning at their own pace.
Reach High, Low and On-Level Learners With One Digital Toolkit
One of the greatest strengths of digital teaching supplements is the ease of differentiation and accommodation. With Boardworks science, students of all achievement levels have the tools for success at their disposal. Low-achieving students can navigate within the digital materials to take a step back and approach the content from different perspectives, a differentiation strategy that’s backed by science. We believe that all students deserve access to higher-level learning. You never know when a unit will spark a newfound interest or passion, and we want to be there ready to support their growth. Boardworks features built-in extension activities that take learning to the next level without adding to teacher work loads.
Reflect and Connect
An under-appreciated responsibility of teachers is to teach children how to learn. If our kids don’t develop healthy, sustainable learning habits, school risks representing nothing more than a requirement. One powerful tool for achieving lasting positive outcomes is reflection. Whether learning in-person, remotely or via hybrid or blended formats, always leave space for reflection and connection with the bigger picture. After venturing through new science material, reflection provides room for synthesizing newly acquired information and skills with previous knowledge, and serves as an excellent opportunity to inquire and spark genuine curiosity.
Ready to Explore What Boardworks Has to Offer?
Boardworks science curriculum lessons, activities and supplements feature built-in opportunities for enriched learning, interactivity and extension, which together uplift science education to new heights. Try a no-commitment demo to experience interactive activities, dynamic animations, summary quizzes and virtual experiments crafted with the diversity of student learning styles in mind. With hundreds of ready-made yet customizable presentations and new additions every year, Boardworks gives you everything you need to teach science in ways that connect to all learners while supporting teachers. Connect with us today to begin your journey with Boardworks!