As a teacher, I constantly wondered how to get students more engaged in my lessons. As an administrator, this question was the guiding force of my coaching. Student engagement can be tough to define and difficult to systematize, but for anyone who’s walked into a highly engaged classroom, it’s immediately apparent.
In my experience, it’s almost a direct path from increased student engagement to stronger learning outcomes. The two combined can often mean improved classroom culture, and in turn, higher teacher retention and other major benefits. There are four key ways that edtech tools can increase student engagement, and when done correctly, be a catalyst for building a culture of learning.
1. Providing a window into student thinking
It’s not always easy for teachers – especially those with higher student-teacher ratios – to dig deeper into individual student answers in real time. Plus, “learning” is a very challenging thing to measure. In education, we often try to approximate whether or not learning is happening by evaluating the answers that students provide to certain questions.
Getting visibility into student thinking throughout a lesson helps teachers see students’ thought processes, not just their answers. Teachers can see ideas develop over time, pinpointing breakthrough (or learning breakdown) moments. They can quickly identify misconceptions at the root, and drive data-driven instruction, providing attention where students need it the most, rather than unnecessarily reteaching whole concepts. The role of the teacher is repositioned to focus more on differentiated and individualized learning, building relationships, and providing support to students, focusing on what drives student engagement the most.