No Tech Teaching: How To Maintain Student Interest While Home Learning
Is no tech teaching possible in distance learning? Certainly. You can still teach without students needing to tap or click on tablets and laptops.
We know it’s hard to imagine functioning without the technology we have today. Smartphones, laptops, apps—they are like our body parts by now. Despite that, the benefits of no tech teaching are too hard to ignore.
Are your students having trouble with using gadgets or connecting to the internet? This is the perfect time for you to implement no tech teaching.
In this post, we discussed no tech teaching, its benefits, and tips on how to do it.
Table of Contents
No tech teaching
What is no tech teaching?
No tech teaching means your students will learn without using tablets, smartphones, or apps. What you might need are printables, which you can send to their parents if they have a printing device at home. The key here is that students won’t need to use any gadgets when they are learning at home. You may send the printables, quizzes, or exercises via email, but they won’t have to use gadgets unless they need to research to answer assignments.
Why should teachers do no tech teaching?
It might sound counterintuitive to practice no tech teaching with the recent school closures. However, 21 million Americans do not have broadband access. Based on that statistic alone, it’s clear that not everyone is on the same boat when adjusting to distance learning.
There are many solutions to that, of course, and one of them is no tech teaching. Fortunately, this method is doable and its benefits can range from financial to practical reasons. Here are some of them:
- No tech teaching is accommodating and fair to the students who don’t have gadgets or stable internet connections at home.
- Students can avoid being distracted by notifications from apps.
- Less screen time, more time and focus on learning and internalizing the lessons.
- You and their families can save on utility bills.
- Students and their parents won’t spend extra time learning how to use software programs or apps. Although most learning software programs are easy to get, not everyone learns at the same pace.
- Students can foster a love for reading.
- Parents can bond with their children more since the teacher won’t face them using video conferencing tools.
The key benefit of no tech teaching
No tech teaching is the most considerate solution to teaching students who don’t have high-tech gadgets or speedy internet connection at home. But the key benefit of no tech teaching is not practicality; it’s the focus on effective learning and teaching practices.
It’s true that education technology has bridged gaps in the education system. Ed tech, as a whole, helps teachers deliver their teaching practices. However, at the end of the day, it’s only a tool to improve the quality of in-person learning.
If you can teach effectively without high-tech gadgets, then why not do it? We see no problem in trying that. Besides, many students are struggling to keep up due to the lack of technology at home. So, it’s only logical that you try teaching where everyone can learn at their own pace.
You don’t even need to restrict other students who own gadgets—you just need to make your classes accessible to those who don’t.
Tips on no tech teaching
Below, we listed a few no tech, no internet exercises that will keep your students’ interest at home. You could integrate these activities into your distance learning program.
Turn to Montessori activities.
Montessori activities are not just for pre-k or kindergarten students; you can also assign them to your elementary students! For example, you can let your students create a Grammar Farm. It doesn’t have to be expensive—students can create this using their materials at home.
This Grammar Farm by Living Montessori Now, for instance, uses inexpensive materials like paper-craft. Montessori activities like this will help kids learn and enjoy at the same time, maintaining their interest despite being quarantined. This activity is best suited for children aged 5–8 years old.
Take inspiration from unschooling methods.
We know unschooling has a not so favorable reputation in the education community. However, in this situation, it can’t hurt to take inspiration from their unorthodox way of teaching children. You don’t even have to adapt their ways entirely. You just have to learn how they’re helping children learn despite the absence of technology and traditional school settings.
For example, unschooling highly encourages self-discovery. So, instead of instructing what they should learn, why not try asking the students topics they’re curious about? Say, if you’re teaching environmental science, you can ask them what interests them about plants the most. After that, you can let them learn about the topic on their own. All they have to do next is to share their learning with you.
Encourage them to read books.
Let’s face it: not all children like reading books, unless they have pictures or they are Young Adult (YA) novels. So, how can you encourage them to read, even if you’re far away?
We have a suggestion.
First, why not encourage them to read for pleasure? We know, these books are not always educational; however, you’ll be fostering their love for reading.
In a way, you’ll help them sharpen their comprehension skills. This, in turn, will help them understand difficult concepts in their classes in the future.
Incorporate retrieval practice.
Do you want your students to retain their learnings longer? You can incorporate retrieval practice into your no tech teaching activities. Retrieval practice improves long-term memory retention through recalling ideas from memory.
One good resource for retrieval practice is retrievalpractice.org. On the site, they have free practice guides such as “How to use retrieval practice to improve learning” and “How to use spaced retrieval practice to boost learning.” Besides that, they offer weekly teaching tips and research reports. They also have books, podcasts, and resources for students.
Assign them to write essays or journals.
Writing essays or journals rarely need an internet connection, unless you require fact-based content from your students. So, we highly encourage you to try assigning your students to write essays or journals. Journaling has wonderful benefits for young minds.
For example, journaling can help your students tap into their critical thinking. They will be more aware and accepting of their own thoughts and emotions as well. Aiming for these goals will help your students manage their mental health better, sustaining their interest to learn despite the school closures.
Encourage passion projects.
Earlier, we discussed unschooling and its focus on self-discovery. You can also use that principle to maintain interest in your students through encouraging them to create passion projects. But why is it important for students to start their own passion projects?
Passion projects cultivate project-based learning in students. Project-based learning will then foster crucial life skills such as collaboration, organizational skills, and critical thinking. By sharpening these skills, your students will be more than ready to face the challenges that lie ahead.
Another benefit from this would be giving your students a different purpose besides succeeding academically. This will even sustain their interest to do well in school since a sense of purpose will boost their confidence.
There are thousands of free printables on the web today. In fact, you can check out our directory for free printables. If you find the ones you like, you can download and then upload them to a Google Drive folder. Next, send the link to your students’ parents via email, Messenger, or anywhere you communicate. All they have to do is just print them and your students can start answering the printables.
Meanwhile, if you want to create your own printable and then send them to your students, you can use free designing tools like Canva or Worksheet Genius. Besides a web-based designing tool, Canva has a free mobile app version with thousands of free templates. Worksheet Genius, meanwhile, has randomized worksheets for Math and English that you can customize.
We know it’s hard to teach, especially when there’s a pandemic you must worry about. That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to try no tech teaching if a handful of your students don’t have a stable internet connection.
As you can see from the stuff we wrote above, there are many benefits to doing it. And by doing no tech teaching, you will still implement learner-centered learning. You won’t be doing your students a disservice at all.
Do students learn better with technology?
Yes and no. Some students respond to ed tech better while others don’t. It all boils down to the quality of learning and not to the tools of the trade.
What are some examples of low tech teaching tools?
Low tech teaching tools in the classroom include markers, magnifying glasses, highlighters, etc. But there are apps, plugins, and extensions that are free and easy to use for teachers. So, you can still consider them low tech.
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