As we’ve observed recently, a major trend for schools and educators is to embrace the rapidly developing tablet environment and educational applications for these interactive platforms in lieu of hands-on project based learning. Apple and other manufacturers offer bulk purchasing options for software and hardware to help schools make their integration of the new platforms affordable. With countless apps available for teacher assistance and additional learning tools, it’s understandable how these have come to the forefront of the education debate.
There is, however, a problem.
Allowing students to learn through a touch-screen education has become nothing more than a passive process for students and teachers. Press this button. Throw this vitual switch. Complete the next lesson on the assembly line of education. How much of this information will they retain as they drone on from one lesson to the next in the glow of their tablet?
Of course, there’s a place for these new developments. They work well as an augmentation to the learning experience and can work wonders for students with disabilities. However, they can also lead to more disinterest in students as they turn on, tune in, and drop out. This passive learning experience works as a counter to the engagement that we seek in our students.
On the other hand, project based learning can provide a full experience. Your students’ experience as they work together as a team to create a unique experiment is something they will remember. It will stick out as they sit through other classes, work by themselves, and do what they’re told to do by tablet computers. Our students play enough video games at home, and educational software just isn’t going to compete. Shouldn’t we therefore strive for something that will make an impression?
Project based learning can illicit strong responses from students as they take ownership of their experiments and education. By taking an active role in their own education, students can learn the real-world application of cut-and-dry lessons. Project based learning techniques will teach your students to solve problems that Google and Wikipedia don’t cover.
These teaching styles can work wonders for teachers as well, especially those in STEM education programs. At StratoStar, we’re proud to offer educators and their students an opportunity to engage their world with hands-on learning experiences. How do you engage your students in learning? Tell us about it in the comments section below!
By Jason Krueger