Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Using Technology to Up Student Engagement

Keeping students engaged in class is every teacher’s goal.  During a recent conversation that I had with 8th grade science teacher, Adam Harnack, we discussed the ways that he interjects technology into his classroom keep his students engaged.  The ideas he shared are easy to implement in any class and have big results in connecting students with learning. Check out a few of his ideas or give one a try yourself!

  • YouTube Video:  Students spend a lot of their own time look at YouTube videos.  Let's face it; it’s their version of TV.  Mr. Harnack uses YouTube videos as another approach to share content, reiterate his point during the lecture or extend their thinking on the topic they are covering.  Short videos can do a great job of breaking up the lecture or discussion and for some students, can help them to refocus on class.

  • Kahoot:  Kahoot's goal is to make learning awesome! And it is an engaging and fun way to review with your students.  It’s free to create an account and in this program you can create quizzes, discussion or surveys to share with your students. According to Mr. Harnack “go nuts and the level of engagement is through the roof!”  The teacher creates the quiz or finds one that is already made and launches the Kahoot.  Students can use any device: laptop, iPad, or phone to log in to play along in class.  Students get points for correct answers and Kahoot generates a leaderboard after every question, which is very motivating for students.  It’s great to use for formative assessment checks because the teacher can print a spreadsheet off of which questions the students missed.

  • Instagram: Mr. Harnack uses the visual social media platform of Instagram to keep his students engaged outside of class.  On his Instagram, he posts science pictures or asks questions through his account to keep his students thinking even after class is over.  It's a great 21st century skill for students to practice and for them to see their teacher modeling appropriate use on social media.

-Contribution from Amber Bridge, Grant Wood AEA Technology Consultant. Want to share what is going on in your class or collaborate on a technology project? Feel free to contact me.

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