By Diana Clark
Online assignments have become increasingly popular among K-12 teachers because they’re made possible with widely used online learning platforms like Google Classroom. These types of assignments are also more engaging, getting students excited to research and share their knowledge.
However, not all teachers have access to these learning systems. If you’re one of those teachers, use these ideas to bring online homework assignments to your classroom.
1. Critical Thinking Question
With this assignment, students have to use the Internet to answer critical thinking questions. You give each student a different question and ask them to use and source their outside sources for help. For example, you could ask: “Pasta is a traditional food of which country?” While looking for the answer on the Internet, the students will discover that the home of this food is actually China and not Italy.
Have students save their top three resources and explain why they’re valuable as part of the assignment. This teaches them about digital citizenship and how to find legitimate online sources.
2. The Biography
Assign students a biography of the person that inspires them—someone outside of their family and friends who they can research online. Students will use the Internet to find the answers, so they will have the opportunity to practice Internet research skills.
3. Dare to Disagree
Students have to take a widely accepted belief that they disagree with, finding online sources to back their arguments. They’ll practice skills of research and persuasion for this simple, but fun, assignment.
4. This Day in History
Students are asked to find events that occurred “on this day” in previous years. Each student can be given a particular year to avoid overlaps. The assignment ends with a short blog post or GoogleSlides presentation to give them even more technology learning time.
Students can use the following resources:
5. Online Discussion
In many higher education courses, students use online discussion forums every week, making a good skill for students to learn at a young age. You can use a tool like Twitter to facilitate your discussion. With a personalized hashtag for your classroom (Like: #MrsB2017), you and your students can track the conversation.
6. Virtual Debate
This is a collaborative assignment that aims at engaging students in an active and meaningful way, as they process subject matter in a way that leads to applicable understanding. Virtual debates are more fun than traditional ones, even if the debate is only between two classrooms within the same school.
If you want to host your debate with another school in a different city, state or country, try Mystery Skype. Find other teachers that want to debate with the Skype Classroom teacher’s forum.
7. “How do we know it’s true?”
With this assignment, students do online research to uncover interesting facts that everyone knows about but can’t seem to explain. Each student is given a question to explain the next day; for example, “How do we know that the universe is expanding?” or “How do we know that climate change is happening?”
8. President for a Day
For this assignment, you will need a notebook, pen, and Internet access. Ask students to find out the responsibilities of the President and create a short video called: “If I was a President for a Day.” They’ll love coming up with their ideas and putting together a video that they can share with their friends and family.
In this assignment, students are professional chefs that are about to open their own restaurant and need to create a menu. Allow students to select a cuisine and ask them to use the Internet to find the traditional dishes of the country they chose. This will help them to build language skills and vocabulary as well as engage in a fascinating world of cuisines.
A doctor is one of the most important professions, and one that many students aspire to have. In this assignment, students select a type of doctor and find out which body parts they treat. Students then tell the class what they’ve found about their doctor, sharing three facts that they’ve found most interesting.
Remember to always offer a degree of freedom with every assignment to give the students more control of their learning process. They’ll be empowered to use the Internet to learn, research, discover and share thanks to these engaging assignments.