Lesson ideas for using touchscreens in the classroom

Interactive touchscreen technology is great – you get to present content to your class in a more engaging way than with a whiteboard, and teach content in different ways for a more effective pedagogy. Think multitouch collaboration, integration with your mobile devices and feedback in exciting quizzes and surveys.

And the list of benefits is as long as your arm. As well as improved educational outcomes (for pupils, teachers and the school), better engagement between teachers and pupils, ease of use (it’s quick and easy to add content), touchscreens can support multiple subjects and are suitable for the whole secondary spectrum. While the possibilities are endless, we’ve come up with a few very basic lesson ideas to get you started…

Our top touchscreen lesson ideas


1. Pointless history quiz

If your students are anything like the teenagers we know, then they’ll be big fans of daytime quiz shows. As the questions on quiz shows take a format students recognise, we’ve found this can be a great way to really engage them in topics, and splitting them into teams builds on the collaborative aspect too.

As an example, take our current daytime favourite, BBC One’s Pointless (though we’re rarely home in time to catch it, unfortunately), and apply a history angle. Come up with sets of questions and answers based on the current topic you’re covering in the style of the quiz format, and get teams of students up to the front to answer them on-screen and compete to see who can get the lowest scoring answers, while you play joint Xander/Richard hosting duties. “We asked 100 people what the main causes of the First World War were”, “We asked 100 people if they could name these Elizabethan figures” etc.

2. Understanding imagery in poetry

Getting students to understand some of the often complex imagery in poetry and ballads can be difficult (it’s not really an onion, is it, Carol?), but using a more visual approach can really aid their comprehension so they can go off and start using more advanced poetic techniques in their own creative writing. That’s where an interactive touchscreen can come in useful.

A fun, engaging activity is to choose a variety of images that pertain to the imagery of the set of poems the class is currently studying (you could search stock photos or Google Images to download some free to use ones), then get students to think about what the image connotes. Get them up to the front of the class to annotate the images on the interactive touchscreen with creative adjectives. Go further by getting them to think about similes and metaphors they could use in their own writing.

3. Discussing drugs in PSHE

Interactive touchscreens are perfect for any topic where group discussion is involved, so they lend themselves perfectly to personal, social and health education lessons. This lesson idea uses students’ listening, answering and researching skills to discuss drugs, smoking and alcohol.

Split students into groups to answer as many questions as they can on the effects of drugs (how does smoking affect your lungs, for example). You start by running through the questions on the touchscreen, while the group-assigned scribe jots them down. Now get them to go off and find the answers themselves on their iPad, making sure they’re working together so that each group member knows the answer to each question. A good tool to use for this would be a mind-mapping app like BaiBoard for iPad, that lets students combine text, drawing and images to create a ‘mood board’ of ideas, connecting with other users to collaborate on a brainstorm as a group.

Now you can go through the set of questions gain, getting another member of each team to give their answers for each question. Students can annotate the questions and compare answers and bits of additional information they didn’t find, while another team member writes up the answers. These findings can then be shared with the class as a resource.

Want to know more about interactive touchscreens? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 218 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com For all the latest news and reviews follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Facebook page.

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