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Active learning in class is easy!

Written by Anneke Verbeeck on Jun 7, 2019 11:19:59 AM Theme Education, Collaboration, Digital transformation, Technology

Children don't move enough…

I think this is something we all agree on. As a teacher you can do extra activities next to the actual lessons,  convert small breaks into physical activities, create energizers, extra running and sporting activities,… These are all great initiatives but usually the real ‘learning time’ is being compromised. Nevertheless these activities remain very valuable.

Research[i] has proven that physical activity has a positive influence on the brain and can counter the negative influence of overweight in a natural way. Increasing physical activity of children is therefore very important.

Although most teachers and principals are aware of this positive effect, only a few people see movement as something that helps children achieve better school performance. It is often seen as something to relax, to take a break from learning. The image below shows that moving definitely has a positive effect on students’ brains.

Brain

There are various options for exercising more in and outside the classroom. Physical or kinetic learning can be practiced in class and teachers can use energizers across the curriculum. For more exercises outside the classroom you could think of organizing specific sports lessons, sports tournaments and sports days.

 

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Let's be honest, there is not much movement in the classroom today. One energizer a day is often the maximum. In general, schools are willing to exercise more in class. The main reason for not making it happen is that most teachers find it too time consuming.

This immediately brings us to the answer of the question: What do teachers need? Easy, lots of ideas and inspiration to get active! They also require a good structured approach and some good practical agreements within the school team.

But what if physical activity and learning can go hand in hand…

By that I mean that you can get your students activated during lessons! You can actively involve your students during your lesson by having them come to the board and adding some sort of gamification as an added value. Your students will get moving in the most easy way.

Try doing a math activity where students need to pantomime the result, or jump,... A very easy step in the right direction and you get children moving in a simple way.

You’ll find more and more tools that can really get your children moving during class. Just think about math computer games in which students tap the sum of numbers on a screen with an object. Or 'Augmented Reality' applications that use a ‘student-centered’ approach. For example, indicating a body part on the right spot in the human body (see Lifeliqe).

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I just came back from a business trip where I went to inspire teachers about active learning. The subject was received very well during the inspiration session and the training. These teachers definitely see the added value of the approach in which students are learning while moving. You’ve got activities that you can use as an energizer, but also exercises that you can use to enrich your ‘normal’ lessons. These turned out to be very valuable to the teachers.

voodoo-dance-1


In this video you can see an example of an activity to practice word classes in a funny and active way. Moreover, students will achieve multiple objectives/goals. Students are learning the subject, and at the same time actively moving to find the right solutions.

Let’s not mix up the objective of the lesson with the tools that are being used. Using the interactive cubes, different skills that we need to develop are already being trained, going from social skills, computational thinking to training the actual content of your subjects, such as languages and mathematics.

The activity builder in i3LEARNHUB offers several templates that help you bring your lesson content to life. You can even have students creating activities on their own. In addition, the students can effectively solve their own exercises by moving. Seems like a win-win!

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In the example above, children are practicing vocabulary. While moving, they use different senses at the same time, which results in a higher grasp of the subject.

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I cannot emphasize enough how nice it is to see children getting started with this. After every training or inspiration session I see the satisfaction of the teachers, but especially of the children who participated in the session. The smile on their faces, the energetic mood that you can see and feel in the group, the enthusiasm of the children while doing the exercises, while playing, but especially while learning by moving!

Something to think about…

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[i] https://www.eoswetenschap.eu/psyche-brein/meer-beweging-meer-grijze-stof-ook-van-toepassingen-bij-kinderen

https://www.i3-technologies.com/en/products/hardware/cube-for-active-learning/

https://www.lifeliqe.com/

https://multi-ball.com/interactive-wall-technology-for-every-space

 

 

Anneke Verbeeck

Anneke Verbeeck

Teacher and enthusiastic member of the i3-Technologies Education Team. An education consultant who loves to inspire people, with digital tools, but always keeping the focus on students and the classroom!

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