Technology has had a huge impact on the real estate industry. Therefore, we cannot deny it has impacted our classrooms as well. For those instructors who have longevity in the industry, you can easily admit that how you taught has changed in just the past two years, let alone the past five, ten, fifteen or more years!
We are a part of the technology revolution. We are watching it unfold right before our eyes, and it isn’t done evolving yet. However, we have a tendency to take for granted technological advancements we couldn’t have even imagined previously. Real estate educators must embrace those advancements, because our students already have in their business. To be a cutting edge instructor, you must be aware of the latest tools available to you and eager to understand how they can help you lead your class. There are a number of valuable technological tools available to today’s real estate instructors.
Technology for the sake of technology is a surefire way to introduce distraction to your classroom. But when purposefully used to enhance the learning experience for students, tech can improve student outcomes and make you a more dynamic and effective instructor. In this article, we’ll explore a few specific ways to use technology to create an interactive experience that improves comprehension of your key learning objectives.
Tell Them…Then Show Them
If there’s one thing all instructors can agree on, it’s that our ability to reach students increases when we are willing “to meet them where they are.” And where they are today is watching videos. From cooking the perfect dinner to unclogging a drain, you’d be hard pressed to find something you want to learn that isn’t thoroughly explained at least once in a video on YouTube or Facebook.
Videos are the new way to self-educate, and they represent an incredibly untapped potential learning tool in the real estate classroom. Lecturing can introduce a concept. Video can bring that concept to life with real-world demonstrations.
If you can’t find a pertinent video that fills your specific need, make one yourself. You could either hire someone to create it for you, or you could learn how to do it yourself. Chances are, there’s a video on YouTube that will teach you!
Make the Phone Your Friend
So much of our students’ lives is intertwined with their mobile devices. Agents today commonly run their entire business from their phone or tablet. In the classroom, that can be a distraction. In fact, most regulations ask for students to turn off their mobile devices in the classroom.
But what if we could make these devices valuable contributors to the learning experience?
Interactivity and classroom participation increase comprehension, and there are a number of apps and services that can be used to increase participation. Here are some examples:
- Poll Everywhere allows you to “turn your one-sided presentation into a two-way conversation” with your students. Prior to the class, you can prepare your questions. At the right time during the class, you can instruct students to visit a webpage or send a text to answer a question. As the students answer the questions, the results are displayed on the screen in real time! The students are witnessing their peers’ thoughts, their answers are getting validated when right and corrected when wrong, and the students (especially the quiet ones) can be anonymous so they are comfortable responding.
- Kahoot! gamifies the learning experience, giving you the opportunity to create and host quizzes for your student both inside and outside the classroom. This technology puts your students in charge of their own learning. The student receives instant feedback on their performance, and the app allows you to assess learning progress in real time. You could also use it to assign quizzes between classroom sessions and ensure students are completing out-of-class reading assignments—preparing them for the next class. Students can even create quizzes for each other. After all, we know when one teaches, one learns more, and more quickly.
These two examples are really just the tip of the iceberg. But both have something in common. They turn stationary students into active participants in the learning process, and that can be priceless for long-term comprehension and reinforcement of concepts.
If our students leave the classroom without a firm grasp on the key learning objectives we’ve aimed to teach, they’re not going to be prepared to succeed on an exam or in real-life applications. Technology should be used to enhance your ability to drive home those key learning objectives. For each objective, consider how to deliver an interactive experience that is sure to stick with your students. Map key learning objectives to methods of delivery. Technology may not always be the right solution, but when it is, tech tools can make an exceptional difference in delivering a positive student outcome.
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Theresa Barnabei is a best selling author of Multiply Your Business, 10 New Marketing Realities for the Real Estate Industry. She has been in real estate for over 30 years, owns her own real estate school sanctioned by the Arizona Department of Real Estate, and has spent the last 8 years as a national speaker and trainer for many brokerages, associations, and state regulators. Theresa believes the only reason she teaches is so that her students “get It, use it, and become more successful because of it!” That philosophy drives her courses and her willingness to volunteer on the Board of Directors for the national Real Estate Educators Association, where she facilitates on the education committee creating powerful Instructor Development Workshops.