The Benefits of Digital Activities in the Classroom {FREEBIE}

In the last decade we have seen a slow increase in the use of technology and digital activities in the classroom.  Fast forward to 2020 and that number rose exponentially.  Yes, much of that growth was out of necessity instead of choice.  But, where does that leave us now?  As hard as it was to transform education overnight, it wasn’t all bad.  In the 21st Century there are many benefits of using digital activities in the classroom.

the benefits of digital activities in the classroom

Preparing Students for the Future

The world of technology that we live in now is only going to grow and expand as our students get older.  Everyday technology is being integrated into life in new ways.  Everyday new technology is being created.  Everyday we become more and more reliant on technology to help us work efficiently and effectively.
digital classroom activities help prepare our students for the future

We can’t necessarily train our students to use the exact technological resources they will use in the future.  That technology hasn’t been invented yet, or at least not made available to the mainstream public.  However, we absolutely can make using technology to complete work a normal and expected part of their lives.

Through digital classroom activities we teach our students that technology can help us learn, solve problems, and complete projects.  We can make reading and writing digitally something our students are comfortable doing.  Now, before you send me an email about age appropriate expectations, please know that I absolutely believe that our students still need opportunities to read and write on paper too.  But, if that is all we provided our students with, we are doing them a disservice.  We can’t teach and prepare our students for the world we live in today, we have to prepare them for the world they will live in tomorrow.

Engaging Learners

Like it or not, the use of digital activities in the classroom increases student engagement.  Most, if not all of our students have grown up on technology since they were very young.  They know it, they are used to it and they like it.  Using what students like, to facilitate learning, has always been one of the best ways to engage students.  Using technology in this way is no exception.
engaging students with digital activities is a great way to get them excited about learning
Not sure if you agree?  Do an experiment in your own classroom.  Find an activity that would normally cause students to groan, procrastinate or otherwise be unengaged.  Have them complete it and just observe their demeanor, interest, attitude and proficiency.  Then, the next day complete a digital activity that covers the same skill or concept.  Again, observe and notice the changes.  If I was a betting woman, I’d be putting my dollars on the digital activity.

Building Independence

Digital activities have a lot of benefits that help our students work independently.  While students complete activities, many digital activities provide them with immediate feedback.  Students are given the ability to find and correct mistakes or review their answer.  They immediately know if their answer was right or wrong allowing them to learn from it and apply what they learned to future questions.  
using digital tools and resources helps students work independently
Additionally, there are many digital activities that are self-grading.  That means they not only grade the activity but they provide the grading information or activity data directly to the teacher.  Can you say TIME SAVER!!!!  Now, instead of spending your precious time grading the papers, you can use the time to review the data and let it guide you in making instructional decisions.  

My Favorite Digital Platforms

There are so many ways to use digital activities in the classroom.  After a few years of dabbling and a year of almost constant use, I have developed some favorites and so have my students.  

Boom Learning 

If you are not familiar with Boom Learning, it is an online site where you can use Boom Cards (digital task cards).  There are thousands of different Boom Card Decks available for almost any skill or concept you can think of.
Students will complete the digital task cards by going to Boom Learning or using a direct link that you share with them.  Students can complete the digital activity on a computer, tablet or even a phone.  This makes them perfect for in class or at home use.  
One of the things I love about Boom Cards is the focused opportunity they provide for students to review and practice a specific skill.  Students focus on one skill or concept and get repeated practice.  As they complete the activity they get IMMEDIATE feedback on their answers. 

Boom Card Examples

I have put together a variety of Boom Card Decks to help my students master important reading, language arts and math skills.  Check out this slide show to see some of the activities you can find in the Boom Cards.  Each set focuses on one skill.  This slideshow contains activities from different sets so you can get a good idea of the skills and activities students can do with Boom Cards.  You can find all of my Boom Card Decks in my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Try Boom Cards for Free

I know that this might be a new type of digital activity for you and your students.  So why don’t you try a set.  You can grab these Multiple Meaning Words Boom Cards for free by clicking the image below.  If you love them as much as I do, you can upgrade your BOOM account so you can differentiate decks for your students and see their scores on particular decks!  

Google Based Apps

Who would have thought that a web based app like Google Slides, a Google version of Powerpoint, Google Sheets, a Google version of Excel, and Google Forms would be great platforms for classroom activities?  But they are!  They make a great base for interactive activities that keep our kids involved in the learning.  

1. Google Slides

Using Google Slides, students can move things around, type, add shapes or images, and so much more.  What students do will vary greatly depending on the activity.  But no matter what they are doing there is one thing you can count on – they will be engaged!
Since the activities are done with a Google app, they can be completed anywhere that a student has internet access.  No need for students to have a specific program.  Google Slide activities are also super easy to share with students.  If you use Google Classroom you quickly and easily share through that.  Otherwise, creating a simple share link is a very easy way to share the activity with your students.
One of the things I love about Google Slides activities is that in addition to the academic focus, students are getting some great hands-on technology practice.  They are learning mouse skills, how to drag and drop, typing, and more.  It’s truly a platform that allows you to focus on multiple skills with one activity.  I don’t know about you, but in this day when time seems to be in short supply, meeting multiple standards is a great benefit.
Here’s just a few of the Google Slides activities you can find in my store:

2. Google Sheets

I don’t know about you, but when I think of spreadsheets I don’t think of elementary students.  But trust me when I say you don’t want to miss this learning activity.  Google Sheets, an online Excel alternative, has become home to some of the most fun and engaging digital activities.  
These digital mystery pictures are so engaging that my students beg for more.  As students answer questions correctly, the picture slowly reveals itself pixel by pixel.  

Just look at all the addition problems students complete in this activity.  The amount of practice is equal to or more than a traditional worksheet.  However, the student engagement and excitement is so much higher.  
These mystery pictures are a great way to connect our students love of pixel art with learning.  I don’t know about you, but any time my students beg to do math I know I’ve found a great learning activity.
You find all of these digital Picture Reveal resources in my TpT store.  There are the perfect seasonal addition to your math centers or math practice.  You can find these 3 digit addition activities for:

3. Google Forms

Google Forms are another great online platform for facilitating learning.  With a Google Form you can share activities that range from practice to tests, and exit tickets to escape rooms.  There’s a lot of versatility when setting up a form that gives you room for some creative learning fun.  

There are two primary ways that I really love using Google Forms in the classroom.  The first is for digital task cards.  Following the same idea as Boom Cards, Google Forms also provides a wonderful platform for students to complete digital task cards.   These sets can be edited to delete or add questions in the set. Unlike Boom Cards, they do not provide immediate feedback for the student. 

Students see one task card at a time which really helps them focus on the task at hand.  Students will mark their answers on the Google form and then move to the next task card.  When they are done, they submit their answers and Google does the grading for you!  As the teacher you will have access to all of their answer choices and a final grade.  And . . . since the student responses are provided to you in a spreadsheet format, you can also do some sorting of the spreadsheet to analyze the data in different ways.
The second activity that I love on Google Forms is Escape Rooms! Talk about instant engagement.  Students love, love, love digital escape rooms.  
Here,  a variety of tasks related to a skill or concept are presented in story form.  Students must work through the story and solve the tasks correctly in order to “escape” or solve the final problem in the story.  
This Easter themed digital escape room will have your students working on:
  • counting money
  • comparing 3 digit numbers
  • addition and subtraction with and without regrouping
  • place value – create the largest numbers
  • missing addends
  • even and odd numbers
  • adding 3 numbers
This makes a great math skills review in the days leading up to the Easter holiday.
I’ve also put together a Valentine’s Day digital escape room that students love too!  In the Case of the Secret Admirer, students must complete math activities in order to eliminate suspects.  Through this activity your students will review:
  • building numbers with place value blocks
  • comparing 3 digit numbers
  • addition with and without regrouping
  • least to greatest with 3 digit numbers
  • even and odd numbers
  • number patterns
  • crack a code
This math activity is a great math center or assignment during February.  It also makes a really fun activity to do on Valentine’s Day when students are more focused on the card exchange and the party.  This fun and engaging mystery will keep their attention and help you get some learning done on such a hard day.

I am in the process of creating other themed escape rooms to support digital learning!

4. QR Codes

One last digital platform that I want to share with you is QR codes.  Even if you have never used a QR code you have probably seen one. 

QR codes are those scannable squares that open up a message or website.  Here, students complete the task cards and use the QR codes to check their answer.  They are so helpful getting student  independently.

These QR Code task card activities are perfect for math centers, small group teaching activities and even whole class games!  On Teachers Pay Teachers you can find a variety of math QR task cards for skills like counting money, telling time, elapsed time, addition, subtraction and more!

Save these Digital Activities for Your Classroom

I hope you’ve found some new digital resources that you can use in your classroom.  Save this to your favorite classroom Pinterest board so you can come back when you are ready for more!  


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