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4 Ways to Add Interactivity

Man interacting with a large touchscreen.

In January, I attended a presentation called Making Interactivity Count by Cammy Bean, Vice President of Learning Design at Kineo. You can find her slide deck on Slideshare and I recommend looking at her other presentations as well. Here are a few of my takeaways from her talk. Though her points were geared to the elearning environment, they are highly applicable to the face-to-face classroom as well.

When designing instruction, we try to incorporate interactivity. But what is interactivity? Interactivity occurs on a spectrum and can be human-to-human, or human-to-thing. Even thinking meaningfully can be interactive. Her four strategies for incorporating interactivity are:

1. Get them reflecting! Have your students practice integrating the content into their own mental schema. Ask a question to get them to stop, think, and apply what they have just learned. For example, what are you going to start doing, stop doing, or continue doing with this new knowledge?

2. Get them feeling! Make your stories or examples about real people or put the learner in the story. Ask them questions about the story or why it matters.

3. Get them acting! Build in worksheets or have students assess what’s going right or wrong with a scenario. For example, if you demonstrate a search that returns zero results, have your students determine why and how to fix it. Ask students what they would do in a given situation.

4. Get them connecting! Have your students talk to each other. Use a survey and share the results.

A few other words of caution from Cammy Bean:

  • Don’t add interactivity just for the sake of interactivity (or as Cammy put it, Beware the clicky clicky, bling bling!)
  • Be sure that the interactive elements have context
  • Don’t allow the interactivity to overwhelm the content

What are some new ways you might add interactivity to your classes?