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Tips From Dr. Marzano

Enhancing the Art & Science of Teaching With Technology


Enhancing the Art & Science of Teaching With TechnologyThe following tips are designed to assist you in applying the latest research in tangible ways in your classroom, school, or district.



Teachers can use technology to improve student engagement and to monitor students’ levels of engagement at specific points in time.

One simple way teachers can monitor student engagement is through the use of polling technology. For instance, teachers can ask students to rate their level of engagement during a particular lesson from (0) not engaged at all to (5) highly engaged. Students can report their opinions using polling technology or clickers and then supply feedback about which elements of the lesson they found to be engaging and what they believe could make the classroom more engaging. Polling technology can also be an effective re-engagement strategy, because it allows teachers to spontaneously involve a disengaged class in a questioning task. In this scenario, questions should be relatively easy so that teachers can quickly determine how many students were paying attention during the lesson and how many may have missed essential content (p. 106).

Technology can help teachers easily incorporate academic games, which can serve as a valuable engagement strategy, into everyday lessons.

Research has shown that academic games and inconsequential competition are highly effective ways to engage students and help them review content. Interactive multimedia tools can enhance teachers’ use of games in the classroom. For example, teachers can use the container feature of an interactive whiteboard to create vocabulary matching games. Additionally, students can use technology to independently play academic games and review content. Undoubtedly, there are a number of computer and online games that address a wide range of academic subjects, but teachers and students can also create their own resources using open-ended software. One example of this kind of software is Quizlet, which allows users to create digital flashcards and play matching games to review their cards’ content (pp. 108–109).

Similar to academic games and inconsequential competition, friendly controversy is a useful engagement strategy that can be enhanced through the use of technology

Friendly controversy requires students to create and defend positions about content. When students engage in creating and defending opinion activities, the Internet can serve as an incredibly useful resource for research. A number of online tools, such as bookmarking tools like Diigo or Delicious, can also help students organize the content they find online and share it with the class. Additionally, students can practice discussing their opinions and providing evidence for their claims by participating in Lincoln-Douglas debates. In this strategy, two groups of students represent different perspectives on one topic and present opening statements, cross-examine the other team, offer rebuttals, and present closing statements. One way that teachers can use technology to enhance Lincoln-Douglas debates is through the use of videoconferencing tools such as Skype, which can allow students to engage in virtual debates with classrooms from other schools. Students can also use videoconferencing tools to interact with state and federal representatives or other experts in order to learn more about the various perspectives on a particular topic (pp. 115–117).

Use screencasting technology (such as Jing, ScreenChomp, Educreations, or TouchCast) to create mini-tutorials that allow students to preview new content.

Before introducing a new concept in class, the teacher can ask students to interact with material that will acquaint them with basic aspects of the new content. Use images, text, and sound to introduce background information and engage students’ senses by incorporating multimedia recording tools. Many websites provide prerecorded video lessons (such as Khan Academy), but be sure to preview the content first to ensure that it is aligned with your learning goals. Teachers might also incorporate primary source material (from sites for the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives, Library of Congress, and PBS) into screencasts that allow students to preview new content (pp. 71–72).

Create online scavenger hunts that prompt students to explore, compare and contrast, classify, evaluate, and otherwise deepen their knowledge of content learned in class.

Students might explore sites such as or to find videos that pertain to topics they have learned about in class. For example, middle school students who are well-versed in the process of paragraph writing can compare and contrast videos about paragraph structure from various websites to critique the quality and helpfulness of each. They might use what they have learned to create their own video explaining how to structure an effective paragraph. Alternatively, students can use multimedia tools to gather nonlinguistic representations of knowledge. Students might use cameras on smartphones or tablets to create collages that relate to the instructional content (p. 72).

Students can use technology to enhance their fluency with a new process or skill by recording themselves practicing and evaluating their own performance.

Students might use digital video tools on their smartphones to film themselves practicing and narrating a process, such as how to solve a quadratic equation. Alternatively, students might use screencasting software (such as Jing, ScreenChomp, Educreations, or TouchCast) to create screencasts that explain how they solved these problems. They might upload their videos to storage sites such as Vimeo or YouTube and post hyperlinks that allow their classmates to watch and comment on their videos (p. 73).

There are many benefits to using digital journals to track student progress.

Cloud-based digitals journals cannot be misplaced or accidentally left at home because they are accessible from a variety of electronic devices. For instance, if a student uses Google Drive to begin writing a journal entry at school, he or she does not have to remember to bring a notebook home in order to finish that entry for homework. Instead, he or she can access the same entry online from a home computer or smartphone. Additionally, digital journals afford teachers the opportunity to type comments and feedback directly into student files. Finally, students can easily revise entries in a digital journal, as well as save multiple drafts, to review their progress over time (p. 31).

Using interactive whiteboard software to play sounds in the middle of a lesson can have positive benefits for all students.

Multimedia cues (such as a musical sound or animated image on a whiteboard) can catch the attention of students with a variety of learning styles because these cues activate several different senses at once. If a routine is established and used consistently, these sounds or images can help students engage and process new knowledge more quickly than traditional teaching (p. 49).

Teachers struggling with student behavior issues can use technology to revamp their classroom management plans.

A teacher may decide to establish a system in which students earn points for exhibiting positive behavior and provide tangible recognition to students who earn a certain number of points. Technology tools like ClassDojo, an online behavior management resource, can help track points, monitor student progress, and generate online student behavior reports to share with parents (p. 127).

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