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7 Alternatives to Pen and Paper Homework

Students dislike homework because they find it repetitive and monotonous. Teachers are always looking for ways to motivate their students to complete their homework regularly and on time. But what if themotivation was not the only solution? Educators nowadays have been rethinking everything.

We thought we knew about homework in order to come up with new and innovative ways. To make homework a fun learning tool for students or to replace it altogether, this will bepossible to make them interestedfor younger students.

What is the purpose of homework?

Before looking for alternatives to pen and paper homework, you need to understand its purpose. This will help you come up with equally effective non-traditional alternatives for your students.

Homework is not simply busy work designed to keep students busy and out of trouble. Different kinds of homework assignments are designed to cater to the learning needs of different students:

  • Homework can be assigned to help students revise what they have learnt in class.
  • It helps them practice and apply new concepts.
  • It helps them prepare for a topic before class so that they understand it better.
  • It teaches students to utilize resources like the library and the Internet to address their queries.
  • Homework encourages students to study independently.
  • It encourages students to explore different topics freely and at their own pace beyond the scope of the classroom.
  • It teaches them important lessons in responsibility, discipline and time management.
  • Homework gives teachers an opportunity to evaluate students in order torecognize problem areas and generate valuable feedback.

Fun alternatives to pen and paper homework:

If you are having trouble getting your students to work on their homework assignments, try these innovative alternatives that serve the purpose of traditional homework assignments but make it interesting –

  1. Online Assignments:
  • Students sometimes have trouble motivating to complete work that they need to bring in and submit in person. While it is a small change, sometimes that is all it takes to encourage children to submit their work on time.
  • This is a good method to adopt as students are sometimes nervous about handing in assignments in person because they are afraid you will read it immediately or start to correct it in class in front of everybody. Online submissions can help these students feel less anxious about submissions.
  • Further, if the homework is corrected electronically, some students feel less anxious about their work and thus perform better and in a more uninhibited manner.
  1. Activities:
  • Most children enjoy getting involved in activities and field trips. They find it more interesting than sitting at home and completing their homework.
  • Wherever possible, find ways to incorporate activities into the course curriculum. This gives you the opportunity to design homework assignments based on those activities.
  • For instance, you can organize a trip to the museum and then encourage students to pick a topic inspired by one of the exhibits for their history assignment. The added thrill of having actually visited the museum and taken pictures of the exhibits will make the assignment more palatable to your students.
  • Don’t be afraid to use technology and encourage your students to utilize their resources so that they know why make use of the internet to complete your Geography project on time.
  • Field work is extremely useful and can encourage children to step beyond their ownboundaries, and associate things learnt in class with the real world.
  1. Presentations:
  • Sometimes students need a little variety. If you are using homework as a learning tool, encourage students to present their assignments in class in the form of PowerPoint presentations, audio-visual presentations or a simple show and tell.
  • Not only does this break the monotony of a written assignment, but it also serves the basic purpose of the assignment as well researched presentations require the same if not more effort. It encourages students to get over their fear of public speaking and trains them to be confident and articulate.
  • It teaches them to harness and utilize multiple mediums of presentation. Further, they are less likely to fool around with class presentations as they will be presenting it in front of their peers.
  • Discussions after each presentation will ensure that each student is attentive and actively involved.
  1. Experiments:
  • Students often relate to new concepts when they are demonstrated visually in the form of experiments.
  • In order to gauge the depth and level of their understanding, you can assign homework topics based on experiments that you have shown them in class.
  • You can also assign experiments as topics for projects so that students can conduct the experiments at home and report their observations and conclusions as part of the assignment.
  • Homework like this interests children as they get a chance to be involved in the entire process. This is a good idea for science subjects as there is a tremendous scope for experimentation in such subjects.
  1. Blogs:
  • For literature and language skills, teachers can set up an interactive blog platform to encourage students to read and write about various topics.
  • Not only will this improve classroom interaction, but it is also an excellent replacement for traditional essay writing assignments and gives students an opportunity to showcase their work on a public platform.
  • This is a great opportunity for you to encourage your students to read and write.
  • You can publish anything from essays to film reviews and book reviews on this platform.
  • So the next time you are struggling to convince your students to read The Great Gatsby and ask them to watch the movie and write a review on it. Most of them will read the book soon after.
  1. Projects:
  • Students can tire of the same boring assignment topics. If you are trying to get them involved in social studies or social science assignment, ask them to submit a project with independent research.
  • Encourage them to conduct sociological surveys or conduct in-depth research on ancient civilizations.
  • Once you make it mandatory for them to collect and present primary data that they have collected independently, they will no longer get away with copy-pasting information from the internet.
  • This will also serve your purpose if you want to teach them to conduct independent research on subjects beyond what they have covered in the classroom.
  • Projects can also be assigned for group activities. This will require students to work in teams; through which they will learn to use their skills in order to get the work done efficiently and also acquire team building skills that will be useful for them throughout life.
  • Allow them to get creative with the presentation of their project so that they combine analytical thinking with inventiveness.
  1. Flashcards/Quizzes
  • This is a great way to get students to think on their feet. First, experiment with the use of flashcards in class and show them how to create sets of their own based on the topic or subject.
  • They can use these flash cards independently or even ask a family member for assistance. This will not only help them study what has already been taught in class but remember important points before an exam becomes much simpler.
  • Quizzes can be a lot of fun and interactive as well. Allow students to answer on their own, or divide them into groups.
  • Rewarding students with simple point system will allow them to understand the value of healthy competition and encourage them to participate.
  • A quiz can also be used as an alternative to homework in order to evaluate how much information they have retained and understood.

Keep these amazing tips in mind so that you have no trouble looking for fun alternatives to traditional pen and paper homework methods. Feel free to experiment with these techniques and find what is most suitable for your classroom. This will help you in impressing your teachers and friends as well.

I'm from Michigan, USA and working as Tutor at My Homework Help Since 2012. The teaching job is very challenging job, but I love to do. I'm helping students with their homework. If you need homework assistance, feel free to contact me!

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