If you’ve been in education for any amount of time whatsoever, you’ve certainly realized that a “lecture” is perceived by most as an awful thing. Teachers don’t generally run to their colleagues or administration to share a great lecture they just gave. However, even with those perceptions, lectures are far from extinct. In fact, they are quite common in most educational settings.
Unlike many educators, I would argue that a lecture, which I prefer to call direct instruction, certainly has a place in teaching. I believe the expertise that a teacher can bring to a subject is very valuable. With that in mind, I also believe emphatically that lectures need to look much different than they have traditionally looked, and technology can really help make that change. One of the major criticism of lectures is that students are not engaged. The challenge for educators is to get students more engaged during direct instruction. I’ve listed some ways that educators can make that happen with the assistance of technology!
- Assign 3-4 students to take collaborative notes for the class on an online tool that multiple users can work on simultaneously.
- Identify two students as “fact finders” to look up information during direct instruction. Encourage the students to check your facts and add additional facts and opinions to the class conversation.
- Use an online tool to get timely feedback about student comprehension of the material.
- Select a backchannel tool and give students very clear directions on how you will use it to encourage conversation and questions between students during direct instruction. A student moderator or two should be assigned to monitor this tool.
- Split your class into two groups to get more students involved with the things mentioned above.
- Use multimedia with students! There are tons of great (and poor) video and audio resources to use with students for nearly any topic. CAUTION-Don’t resort to the “old school” long boring videos. Play short clips that highlight the message you want to communicate.
If I haven’t sold you with these ideas and you insist on a traditional lecture, you may want to consider flipping your classroom. Don’t waste class time by giving your lecture there if students aren’t going to actively participate in the lecture, . Assign students to listen to the recording outside of class, and have them complete assignments and homework when they are in your room.
These are just some examples of ways that a lecture doesn’t have to be a traditional lecture!