Developing means of keeping students’ attention and boosting classroom engagement can be a challenge of seemingly epic proportions for any of us. Fortunately, the consistent creation and access to new technology provides us with a variety of unique ways to capture students’ attention and provide a better, more involved learning experience. Now, the only challenge many of us face is figuring out where to begin and what types of technology work best for us, our students, and our classrooms.
As daunting as this task may seem, there are many ways how to keep students engaged that can be as fun and easy to implement for teachers as they are enjoyable for your students. Some examples include:
- Creating surveys/polls
- Using videos for presentations
- Gamified learning
- Virtual field trips
- Using social media
- Creating a classroom blog
1. Creating Surveys/Polls
A great example of how technology can boost student engagement levels is through surveys and polls. What better way to find out what students are looking forward to than to ask? Create digital questionnaires or polls to find out what your students are most excited about learning about and method and technology they are most excited to use.
2. Using Multimedia for Presentations
The usage of multimedia elements in presentations has long been one of the easiest, most effective ways to grab students attention. Provide students with a boost of excitement and energy by adding music or break up blocks of text and recapture attention with video clips discussing the topic.
When looking at how technology engages students, videos and multimedia have proven invaluable, making YouTube a great teacher and student resource. Put together a playlist of videos related to your lesson to extend learning beyond the page in creative and engaging ways!
4. Gamified Learning
From webquests to virtual scavenger hunts to software-based learning games, there is no end to the number or ways that gamified learning can be a valuable means of supporting student engagement, visual learning and technology. Gamified learning is a great way to support differentiated instruction and keep learning fun.
5. Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips can bring the excitement and enthusiasm of exploring new places directly into your classroom. Use StreetView on Google Maps or other similar programs to explore national parks, take a virtual trip to the zoo or even visit the Great Wall of China!
6. Using Social Media
Keep students focused and on-track outside of the classroom with pages on social media where students can contact you with questions or communicate with each other about lessons. Create unique classroom hashtags and use Twitter to have students tweet exit tickets expressing something they learned in class to measure attention and engagement levels.
7. Creating a Classroom Blog
A classroom blog is great for communicating curriculum updates, due dates, and other important classroom announcements to both parents and students. Use a wiki site to enable students to post and edit original content updates to make your site more interactive and engaging for students. Students learn best in environments that foster a sense of belonging.
Podcasts can be another great way to keep students engaged. Encourage students to find podcasts that discuss unit topics and themes to play in class. Make it a challenge by giving students a list of topics/key phrases to listen for, with a reward for the student whose podcast episode covers the most keywords, or encourage students to make their own episodes to showcase learning objectives.
Increasing Student Engagement With Technology
Students learn best in environments that are safe and fun where they are challenged and supported with the tools necessary to surmount these challenges. Using technology as a means to support differentiated instruction, encourage student-directed learning, and provide strategies to help students stay on task and focused enables you to provide the most supportive education for a variety of learning styles as well as keep students inspired and enthusiastic about learning in new and creative ways. Giving students access to educational technology, along with attentive instruction and opportunities to learn to use it safely and effectively, is also the best way to set them up for success in our digital world.