With back-to-school season well underway, many teachers are embarking on the task of ensuring that every student in their care reaches their academic potential. As we now know, the “one-size-fits-all” teaching method can be ineffective and can quickly lead to student disengagement. So how can teachers design their lessons to ensure they are meeting the individual needs of each and every student in their classroom? A starting point is to familiarise themselves with how their students learn best through intentional observations and honest conversations. This may take some time and dedication on the teacher’s part, but it will be well worth it in the end!
There are many tools that teachers can use in the classroom to help them differentiate their lessons to suit their students’ individual learning styles. One such tool is educational technology. With a myriad of ed tech games in the market, teachers may wonder what is the best one for their students. While there is not a simple, straightforward answer to this, teachers need to take into consideration a variety of factors such as the age and experiences of their students and the desired outcome of the lesson. For example, if an elementary teacher is looking for an app to help her 1st graders gain fundamental skills in numeracy and literacy, Skoolbo would be an excellent choice for her class since it focuses on these skills for children from preK-6th grade.
Although admittedly, there is not total agreement in the education sector about the validity of Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic (VAK) theory, it is widely accepted that variety in teaching methods and styles go a long way toward keeping students engaged and learning. Incorporating this variety into lessons will not only ensure all types of learners are catered to but will also encourage individuals to engage with learning in different ways.
Below we look at the three major learning styles of VAK theory and examine how ed tech games, such as Skoolbo can support each style.
These types of learners need to see the lesson that is being taught. So, for instance, if they are given instructions, they are better able to follow these instructions if the instructions are written on a white board rather than being told to them. Ed tech games, such as Skoolbo, really play to this learning style with their visually stimulating characters and backgrounds. Also, games like Skoolbo have students answer questions that are displayed right on the screen, which is very beneficial for visual learners.
Similar to visual learners, auditory learners also use one of their senses to learn. For them, they need to hear what is being taught. Auditory learners learn best through oral teaching methods, such as talking through a topic or singing a song. Skoolbo and many other ed tech games are great for these types of learners because they can hear the questions being spoken out loud, and they get verbal reinforcements throughout the game.
Kinesthetic learners like to put their learning into action. They often use their hands to “talk” and to touch things around them, and they also enjoy moving around. One of the features that is included in Skoolbo, Zippy Shake is fantastic for these types of learners because it gets them movin’ and groovin’.
Game-based learning has the capability of scaffolding the learning process for all of these types of learners since they focus on multiple learning styles. Such games also help make a teacher’s life much easier as teachers will not need to rely on many different types of ed tech tools to help each of their students. And above all, students enjoy playing games, so engaging them in games that are both fun and educational at the same time is attacking two birds with one stone!