Student engagement can be difficult. Students face constant distractions, and the sad truth is that attention spans are getting shorter.
As educators, a high level of engagement should be a priority. The more students are engaged, the more they learn, and the more they achieve. It also makes it significantly easier to maintain your energy throughout the day.
Today’s students grew up in the digital age. We should be taking advantage of technology, rather than viewing it as a distraction, to increase student engagement. To make sure that students are getting the most out of every lesson, the content should be presented in a way that the work has a clear meaning and immediate value to your students.
Technology in the classroom allows students to gain a deeper understanding of topics that interest them, collaborate with each other, and direct their learning. We’ve created a list of some of the interesting ways that you can incorporate technology into your classroom to increase student engagement.
Learn how technology is changing in the classroom as per Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs and her suggestions as well on the new literacies that engage students:
Here are 8 ways to Increase Student Engagement:
1. Submit assignments as blogs
Blogs are short online articles (less than 3000 words) that are taking the world by storm. Blogs are a great resource for both the author and the reader: the author can constructively express their thoughts, and the reader learns something new.
Best for students in grades 7–12
Engage your students: Posting written assignments as blogs allow your students to showcase their work and also help each other out by posting comments. Posting the blogs publicly also means that you’ll probably receive higher quality work.
2. Submit assignments as podcasts or videos
Podcasts are digital audio files available for download to a computer or portable media player. Both podcasts and videos allow students to showcase their creativity and gain new skills.
Best for students in grades 7–12
Engage your students: Podcasts and videos are engaging ways to submit assignments that remove a lot of the presentation stress felt by students. They can create several versions and will not see the people who will be evaluating the assignment. You can also create podcasts and videos of your classes for your students to review after class or when preparing for a test. This also helps students who missed a class.
Add this to your classroom: Students can record videos by simply using the camera of a smartphone. Most smartphones will have a voice recording app, which can be used for creating podcasts. Have your students share videos through Youtube and podcasts through Soundcloud.
3. Work with a classroom on the other side of the world
The internet allows instant communication between anyone, at any time. Take advantage of your ability to teach your students about geography or history by talking to students from that country. This can help foster global student engagement.
Great for students in any grade
Engage your students: Nothing is more engaging than a room full of students from another continent! Take pen pals to the next level by having your students chat and learn from someone from a completely different culture and background.
Add this to your classroom: Skype provides various methods of virtually adding people to your classroom, from interacting with other classrooms, to hosting a guest lecture, to virtual field trips.
4.Gamify skills like problem-solving
Gamifying your classroom occurs anytime you bring competition or levels of achievement to a classroom exercise. Grades can be seen as a form of gamification. However, these don’t necessarily fully reflect how much the student has learned or their work habits. Adding rewards to other aspects of the classroom allows you to focus on fundamental skills.
Great for students in any grade.
Engage your students: Leveraging gaming mechanics can make learning more fun. Using your students’ competitiveness also encourages them to work harder than they normally would.
Add this to your classroom: Work with your students to create badges or awards that they can receive for completing certain tasks, such as homework completion. Check out Gradecraft for some ideas. You can also introduce them to the concept of co-designing, allowing them to have a direct impact on what their favorite companies are making. For example, My Starbucks Idea accepts submissions of new Starbucks products and experience ideas, then allows users to vote on the ones that they like the best.
5. Create infographics to explain complicated topics
Infographics are visual representations of information. They are designed to make information easy to understand very quickly. They are typically designed to draw attention to the most important information first.
Great for students in any grade.
Engage your students: Visuals are much more engaging than written text and convey a lot more information. Infographics take that to a whole new level. Infographics are typically used for displaying some sort of data; they could easily be used to compare population statistics in geography or show the history of the Internet.
Add this to your classroom: For an easy, user-friendly design interface, try Piktochart. Presentation software such as Powerpoint or Keynote can also be used to create simple infographics. More advanced design software such as GIMP or Photoshop are also great.
6. Record and playback reading
Students don’t always realize what their voice sounds like when they read. They may be making consistent pronunciation errors without even realizing it. This also builds self-confidence and pushes student engagement.
Best for students in grades 1–3 or in foreign language classes.
Engage your students: Fluency and expression can be hard concepts for your students to grasp. When you record your students reading, they will be able to hear the differences in their voice and learn to recognize what it means to read with expression.
Add this to your classroom: Record each student reading using voice recording software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. Then send this audio file to your students through email. If you want others in the class, or the students’ parents to listen to the recordings, share them using Soundcloud.
7. Interactive attendance
Taking attendance by having students raise their hands can be time-consuming. This is important to know which students are present, but not necessarily the best use of your time in the morning.
Best for students in grades 1–6.
Engage your students: Make your students responsible for their attendance with an interactive whiteboard. This teaches them how to be accountable and gets them used to using an interactive whiteboard.
Add this to your classroom: Take a picture of every student during the first week of school and add them to a Notebook file. Each morning, have your students drag their photos into a “present” section when they arrive.
8. Conduct an Online Class
Online education is becoming a big part of school environments. Many students are able to access new knowledge and learn online. You can try different methods of teaching and assessing students. Lead a class virtually through games, VR, or video calls. Create an online lesson plan that you share with the students, then have them work on the topics and homework assigned online.
Best for students in grades 8-12.
Engage your students: Make your students responsible for their own learnings and push their boundaries in our technology-driven world. This teaches them how to be adaptable and gets them used to a globalized environment.
Add this to your classroom: Write your digital plans online through free teacher lesson planners such as Planboard and share any plans with students. Assess your student’s knowledge on their ability to follow instructions through online quizzes.
Continue learning about using technology in the classroom with our articles on Your First Steps in Creating Tech-Savvy Teachers and 3 Tips on Using Technology to Foster Engaged Students.