Six Ways to Use Technology in Health Ed

By Kimberly Ohara posted 07-05-2017 14:19


Are you looking for some new ideas on incorporating technology in your health education classroom? Or, maybe you’re looking to jump into the tech world as a newbie? Here is what I’ve had success with.

Start with the TECH Model
The TECH model focuses on teachers and students and less on tasks. The model emphasizes student-centered learning and stands for “Traditional, Enhanced, Choice and Handoff.”

In the “Traditional” phase, the teacher designs an assignment using traditional methods of teaching and supplements it with some basic technology. For example, students will take notes during a lecture or video.  


To “enhance” the learning experience, integrate multiple tech tools into your lesson. For instance, instead of just having your students take notes while you lecture, introduce a backchannel —a secondary conversation that takes place during a lecture. While you’re teaching, students can ask questions and add to the conversation online, allowing them to take a more active role during the lesson. One webtool I use for this is  

In my classes I offer “choice” when it comes to student-centered learning.  Choice is where the teacher sets the learning goals and offers a variety of tasks using specific tech tools.

During our mental health unit, students create an advocacy project on how to reduce the negative stigma of mental illness within our community. They get to choose their specific mental health topic and provide a list of online readings based on their topic. Then, they choose a tech tool of their choice and create a mash-up (mixture of data and media).  Here’s an example

“Handoff” is where student interests drive the learning experience and the teacher is the guide on the side, offering a flexible choice of tools and technologies to achieve an authentic product.  Check out from start to finish how I executed our semester long health advocacy project here.

Above: Engaging students in health education class with technology. is a free web tool you can use to create and administer quizzes, discussions or surveys. I highly recommend it because students love the game (beware, it gets competitive)! You can use as a review game before a test, to introduce or review vocabulary, or as formative assessment at the end of a unit. 

The best part about is that students don’t need computers to use it. In the gym, they can play on their cell phones, either on a team or individually in “classic mode.” I personally like the classic mode because it engages all students and allows you to collect data on each of them, helping you identify concepts you might need to reteach. You can also download the file or import the results to Google Drive.

Do you show YouTube or TED Talk videos in class? EdPuzzle allows you to take these videos and make them interactive. You can pose quiz questions, add your voice explaining a concept or clarification, and add audio notes on the side of the video. The best part of EdPuzzle is if you have a flipped classroom or teach a hybrid class, it allows you to see how long each student was engaged in the video and shows their quiz answers.



Flipgrid is a video discussion community that came highly recommended to me. It allows for student input. Once you add discussion topics, students can respond with feedback or videos. They can make videos on the fly using the Flipgrid app, or even upload Snapchat videos. Flipgrid can be embedded into any learning management system or website. Many of my colleagues use this tool and tell me that $65 for a year's subscription is totally worth it!      

AdobeSpark is a free online web tool and app where you can easily create stunning videos, web stories and images. Last summer I transformed my syllabus using the page feature, and I also love the video creator. My students have also used it to demonstrate their knowledge on specific health topics. Check out a student example here.

Educreations is an app on the iPad that allows you to lecture and/or annotate over photos. I make short content videos (three minutes or less) for my students to watch. My favorite way to use this app is to have them act as the teacher and create a lecture video which demonstrates their knowledge on a topic. I also use this app as a means to a quick and easy formative assessment.

Technology Should Never Replace the Teacher
Technology should never take away from good old-fashioned teaching. There are many lessons that are low tech or no tech that I still infuse in my classroom. Activities like practicing refusal drug dialogues and interpersonal communication skills will always be taught face-to-face in my class.

Here is a link to my personal list of tech tools and SHAPE America’s Twitter chat on “Tech in Health Education.”

Keep the conversation going here on Exchange and on Twitter @oharakimiko using these hashtags: #SHAPEhealthed, #healthed, #healthliteracy, #skillsbasedhealth. Also, be sure to tag @SHAPE_America!


Bio: I am a health education teacher at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach, California. I'm passionate about health and wellness, blended learning, Ed Tech, adventure travel, mountaineering and I'm the 2017 CAHPERD Teacher of the Year.