Creating active learning environment with technology

Hooper and Rieber (1995) state that the most imperative aspect of integrating educational technology is to create learning environments in which students actively construct knowledge in cognitive partnerships with technology. Technology shouldn’t be the center of the learning. However, it should be tools to assist teachers in promoting better student learning experience.

When designing a technology-enhanced learning, educators/designers of classes should promote active learning approaches such as hands-on virtual experiences, collaborative projects, real-time formative assessments, and student-centered backchannel group discussions with help of educational technology. Firstly, hands-on learning using simulations, augmented reality and virtual reality can enhance the learning experience and help students grasp difficult concepts in STEM classes. Secondly, collaboration through technology in group settings can enhance students’ interaction, engagement, learning and reasoning skills in STEM classes. Thirdly, technology significantly facilitates the use of formative assessment – this is a frequent, interactive assessment of student progress and understanding (OECD, 2005). Formative assessment software can enable instructors to provide students with more personalized learning and to obtain immediate feedback to reduce misconceptions in STEM classes. Finally, group discussion utilizing backchannel chat software, like and Slack, can provide students with safe and secure class discussion environment that can encourage participation and engagement.



Hooper, S. & Rieber, L.P. (1995). Teaching with technology. In A.C. Ornstein (Ed.), Teaching: Theory into practice (pp. 154-170). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

OECD (2005), Formative Assessment: Improving Learning in Secondary Classrooms, OECD Publishing.


  1. Thanks for emphasizing the importance of student activity in constructing knowledge, and the role that technology plays to assist teachers. No doubt simulations, VR and AR, etc. are becoming increasingly accessible to accommodate various learner preferences. I wonder however whether technology is providing an equal footing between schools with different resources. To be sure, merely having technology does not automatically translate into good teaching, but can definitely be helpful.


    1. Hi Andrew

      I agree with you that technology alone cannot improve learning or teaching. It a mere tool and the purpose of technology should be an assistance of instruction. I do believe that effective learning depends on knowledge of teachers’ subject matter, pedagogy, and evaluated and proven technology. Every technology cannot be an effective learning and teaching tool.

  2. I like the fact that you brought up the fact that technology should not be the focus, but a tool to promote student learning.

    I wonder if we lost electricity for a couple of weeks — what would happen to the classes that relied heavily on technology? Years ago I lost the Internet at my home for two weeks — it was like going on a holiday.

    A good next step might be to give examples of hands-on virtual experiences and collaborative projects.


  3. Hi Christopher

    Regarding AR and VR examples, both technologies can unlock the potential to put employees in situations that you otherwise could not recreate such as medical surgery, hazardous task training, etc. Also, medical schools can use the technology in biology classes to explain internal organs of a human body using AR/VR devices like Microsoft HoloLens.

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