Motivating students can be difficult but it gets even more complicated when new technology is in the mix. We will look at some basic advice for student motivation and how we can apply these to motivating students in using new technology in the classroom.
Intrinsic and Extrinsic motivation
In order to understand how to motivate students it is important to touch briefly on the basics of motivation; student motivation can be either intrinsic or extrinsic and there are advantages and challenges to both. The former comes from within the student and their natural interest in a topic of study, while the latter relates to outside factors, such as living up to expectations or earning a good grade.
While in higher education, students are often intrinsically motivated, having chosen their course of study based on their own self interest. But sometimes university students still need help and encouragement to find their motivation, especially when there are faced with incorporating new technology and methods into their learning.
How to motivate students?
Just as a student’s passion for a particular topic can motivate you as a teacher, you can also inspire your students to become more engaged by expressing your own interest in a topic. This also crosses over into displaying a passion and belief in using new technology in the classroom. Don’t just tell your students that they have to use Peergrade, explain why you have chosen it and why you see value in it.
It’s not just about being personal but also about personalizing the educational experience. Giving students an opportunity to choose their own topics or form of assessment will increase their motivation. Many edtech solutions were created just for this reason, so take advantage of the opportunity to let students personalize their education. For example, Peergrade lets students upload videos, links or files making it easier for you to allow students to explore different mediums. The motivation and desire to use whatever technology you introduce will increase if student’s know it will allow them to personalize their education.
Make it relevant
Similar to being personal with students, it is important that student’s understand the “what” and “why” of their education. It can be helpful to go through the learning outcomes with the students and make clear the expectations for the course and the assignments. This is why we love using rubrics at Peergrade, they are a great form of communication between student and teacher that clarify expectations and objectives. They also answer the questions about “why am I doing this assignment?” and “What am I supposed to learn from this assignment?”.
Student’s will have these same questions about using technology like Peergrade. “Why am I using this?” and “What is the benefit for me?”. Be clear and help your student’s understand the benefits for them as students.
While praise can boost the students confidence, constructive criticism can be the motivating force for a student to keep improving and pushing themselves. We like to talk about all the great benefits to using Peergrade and getting feedback, and motivation is not often one of these benefits discussed. But feedback can be the fuel to keep a students motivation going, letting them know what they have done well and what they can aim to improve.
Edtech is pushing the boundaries and helping teachers to become more efficient and effective educators and allowing students to personalize and enrich their educational experiences. But to reap all these benefits, technology needs to be embraced and students must be motivated to use it. Many of these tips discussed here revolve around open communication between student and teacher; making learning objectives clear, expressing interest in topics being discussed and teachers being open to allowing students to pursue their own interest within the given subject. All of which can be applied to motivating students to use technology in (and out) of the classroom.
What the Best College Teachers Do by Ken Bain