Strategies for Engaging Learners in a Greener Classroom

Overview

This document outlines 10 strategies for engaging learners in a Greener Classroom. This is not a how-to document; we simply describe some of the types of activities and strategies that may be useful in your course.

What is Greener Classroom

A Greener Classroom refers to making better use of technology tools given and reduce the amount of paper and other materials that can be expended in the classroom such as pencils, pens, etc. It also refers to the practice of encouraging students to both explore and connect with the environment around them outside of the classroom.  This practice can be used in both face-to-face courses and, especially in fully online classes. But the focus would be in a physical classroom.

Academic Technology Services (ATS) offers several technology tools to help you develop the following strategies in your own classes:

Enterprise Tools:

10 Strategies for Engaging Learners in a Greener Classroom

Strategy #1: Use a PowerPoint presentation

The basics:  Instead of creating a presentation and printing out handouts to give the classroom, use PowerPoint and ensure all students have access to the PowerPoint either via D2L or other methods such as OneDrive

Strategy #2:  Consider a Green Mantra

The basics: Working with your students, unify in the purpose of to be more "Green" in both your classroom but also on their campus.  

Strategy #3: Look to see if there is a OER (Open Education Resource) available

The basics: Instead of using a textbook in the classroom, research and see if your materials can be found as a OER. This can save on costs for you or your students.

Strategy #4: Change the way you send and distribute information

The basics: Instead of using paper to distribute information such as grades, feedback and announcements, look to use items such as D2L grade book, announcement page. Send e-mails through Office 365.

Strategy #5: Use the SMART Board

The basics: If your classroom is equipped with a SMART Board, consider using it for all your lessons. You don't need to purchase dry-erase markers to write on the board. With the SMART Board Notebook app you can also save whatever you have written on the board for future use or reference. You can display presentations and other functions on the board also. If you are unfamiliar with SMART Board, the Student Tech Center offers training at https://www.mnsu.edu/stc/smartboards/ 

Strategy #6: When conducting Professional Development consider Video Conferencing

The basics: Consider using some sort of Video Conferencing for Professional Development instead of traveling to another location. This allows you to get familiar with tools and the potential of teaching an online course where you could engage your students with a video conferencing tool. Examples of video conferencing tools are Skype for Business and Adobe Connect. For more information check out the following link https://www.mnsu.edu/its/academic/videoconferencing.html

Strategy #7: Have assignments only turned in by digital form

The basics:  Set up drop boxes for Word Documents, or use D2L and have the assignment folder so students can turn in their assignments. Only conduct quizzes within the Learning Mangement Spaces.

Strategy #8: Think "Green" not only in the classroom setting but in the community

The basics: Challenge your class to think more "Green" and do more "Green". Set up a discussion board asking what the students are doing to be more "Green". Ask for links on recycling, how to set up a garden in their community. Go from inside the classroom, or where they might be doing the online class and take it into the community.

Strategy #9: Consider a "Green" assignment

The basics: Look to create a "Green" assignment that your entire class can come up with using technology, such as following the migration patterns of Monarch butterflies, or how the recycling process happens in their community.

Strategy #10: Connect your assignments to the environment around you and your students

The basics:  Ask your students to connect to the world around them by using your assignments to get them thinking about the environment right outside their door.  Can they photo local nature?  Design a new recycling awareness program? Complete a service learning project at a community garden?  Interview local conservationists?  Intern at a local farm?  Through your assignments, is it possible to raise your students' awareness of campus or local environmental issues?  Think about how they can connect the content to local art walks, flower gardens, hiking trails, or other examples of the natural environment in their own community.

                                                                           

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