Combining movement and technology enhances learning

I realize that some in education may believe that more movement is the gateway to more play. Adding movement does create excitement and energy, but that’s the point. We cannot maintain the quiet classroom as an ideal; it only reinforces the sit-and-take principles. At the same time, accepting some noise does not mean that everything is going. Creating structured opportunities—for example, a conga line or a science exhibit in the hallway—can help encourage movement while minimizing chaos.

The benefits of technology and movement

Overall, research shows that the benefits of adding technology movement outweigh the risks.

Technology itself has many benefits for students. It can increase student engagement, collaboration, creativity, choice, and customization.

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Researchers, educators, and administrators have also documented the benefits of movement in the classroom. Movement affects aspects of learning from focus, motivation and concentration to engagement, mental health and behaviour. Research shows that exercise can also boost academic performance, especially in the areas of memory, recall and math problem solving.

When educators and administrators combine technology with movement, they help break down the walls between physical and digital learning experiences, increasing the benefits of both.

What to use to encourage movement

There are many creative ways to combine technology and movement in the classroom, and with the right tools, it’s easy to do. Here are a few techniques I have found effective.

QR codes
QR codes are great for adding movement and action for students and are easy to create. Google and Windows offer free code generators, and the websites QR Code Generator and QR Tiger also generate QR codes for free. I’ve used QR codes in presentations to ask questions or poll students, posted them on bulletin boards to provide more information, and used them during high-traffic activities like scavenger hunts and escape rooms.

Magnetic tablet cases
As students get up and moving, they often need ways to bring technology with them. Carrying cases and protective covers keep devices safe in these cases. In classrooms where students use tablets, the magnetic case makes it easy for them to engage in learning away from their desks. The Logitech Rugged Combo 3 keeps tablets secure on lockers or a magnetic whiteboard while students engage in activities outside of their seats.

Game-based approaches
Interactive games are a great way to add movement to the classroom. I especially like games that focus on small movements because some students spin around but may not be excited to stand or make big gestures. For these students, games that involve smaller gestures, such as hand movements, are impactful.

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The styluses
As students move, finding opportunities to increase the benefits they receive from the move can make this approach even more impactful. Incorporating the use of a stylus is one way I’ve found to do this. When students get up from their desks to participate in movement-based activities, educators can keep the activities fresh by incorporating drawing or taking notes with styluses. I have found that drawing in general is a great kinesthetic opportunity to engage students. I like to incorporate these tech tools into activities like scavenger hunts and educational escape rooms so students can tap into their own creativity as they move.

Creatively combining technology and movement can yield significant benefits for students, but that doesn’t mean educators need to make dramatic changes right away. Introducing one or two movement-based activities and building from there will make it easier to realize the benefits of combining technology and movement. Gradual introduction of these types of activities can help educators maintain the approach for long-term impact.

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