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Integrating Technology in the Classroom for Audio, Visual, and Tactile Learners

Classrooms are diverse environments where no two children are exactly the same. Learning styles, like personalities, also differ and can impact how teachers teach their students. Learning style theories state that everyone has the ability to learn if they are taught in a way that is adjusted to their style. This means that students who may have had learning difficulties in the past may not experience the same difficulties if taught with their learning style in mind. For teachers, this can be a challenge, as you must learn to teach in ways that can benefit each student in the classroom. Fortunately, the world is a technological one, and technology in the form of computers and even video and music players can improve the ability of students to get the most out of their education.

Auditory Learners

A student who has an auditory learning style is one who learns best when they are able to use their sense of hearing. An auditory learner will exhibit characteristics such as talking to themselves, being distracted easily by background noise, and talking out problems as they solve them. Auditory learners generally read more slowly than other students and may find it difficult to follow instructions when they are written out. Because these students learn through hearing, teachers can reach them with technological tools such as audio books, recorded lessons, and webinars and podcasts as well as by integrating music into lessons. You might consider allowing an auditory learner to use recording devices so they can play back lessons while they are studying. PowerPoint presentations that include an oral lecture are also a valuable tool for teaching auditory learners.

Visual Learners

Visual learners rely on their sense of sight and are best able to learn when they can see or visualize what they are being taught. Visual learners enjoy reading, are note-takers in class, and are attentive to detail. They prefer to read books in print as opposed to listening to an audio version and may benefit from using e-readers or downloading e-books. When teaching to those with this style of learning, use visual aids such as graphics, videos, and podcasts. You might also use interactive whiteboards, computers, and PowerPoint presentations to visually convey lessons to these students. Information visualization tools such as online maps are also useful for visual learners.

Tactile Learners

Kids who are tactile learners learn best when they are able to use their sense of touch during lessons and while they are studying. Tactile learners will enjoy assignments that require the use of their hands, whether that is using tools or handling items during lab work. They may be very fidgety and have difficulty sitting at a desk for long periods, which can be problematic during class time. When working on math problems, they will often use their fingers to determine the right answer. Computer-based activities are better suited for tactile learners, as using computer keyboards will help keep the student's hands busy. Role-playing, skits, and demonstrations are all good activities to use in the classroom to engage tactile learners. Try integrating tactile learning by allowing students to give performances or demonstrations or having them record their own presentations. Not only should the students be allowed to perform in front of the camera, but they should be allowed to operate it as well. Interactive whiteboards and PowerPoint presentations may also be used to engage students who are tactile learners, particularly if they present information that requires students to move or engage others. And whenever you can get tactile learners involved in a hands-on activity, whether it's doing a lab experiment or gluing together words to create poetry, do so.