Interactive activities in a class are usually (not always) fun for the students but a lot of work for the teacher! Anytime a teacher presents an interactive activity in class, it is a safe bet that there has been a lot of work done to prepare for it. The trade-off though is that while it may take some additional time to prepare, students really get a grasp of the material because they are learning it in hands on type of way. This is especially great a university level because most time the material learned is all done through theory. When you add an interactive element, the students are now learning theory through interaction which can make for a great learning experience.
One activity that allows for great interactivity and learning are virtual field trips. This cannot always be done but there are a lot of locations online that give out 3D field trips or views of a specific location. For a geography class, using Google Maps is a great idea to ‘see the world’. Especially now that there are a massive amount of cities that offer ‘street view’, using this technology allows for great interaction across the world. An exercise for the students would be to find a location and create their own virtual field trip. They can do this by using Google Maps or even a search engine to compile images together. If they have a Flickr account or their own web space, they can upload photos they find so that others can see them as well. This type of activity is obviously not suitable for all classes, but it is great for others.
Another activity that allows for interaction is the use of online document creation such as spreadsheets or text documents. There is a lot of new technology out there that allows for live online collaboration. Google Docs allows users to create and edit a document in real time on the web. Students have access to a chat box on one side of the screen and the document on the other side. The specific activity will be outlined below, but having this technology is a great resource for a teacher. Putting the class into group and having them create a document with facts provided in a spreadsheet and then finally producing a presentation is a great way for interactivity.
Finally, the third activity that combines technology and learning and provides an interactive element is the creation of a knowledge base. In the world of Information Technology (IT), a knowledge base is also known as a knowledge dump. Basically, you have an online page (can be a wiki) that has detailed steps and answers to common problems or information. Whenever you discover something or learn something, it goes straight into the knowledge base so that in the future, other people can learn as well.