How to boost student engagement with technology

Boost student education

According to research firm McCormick, as students advance through the educational system, they can become progressively disengaged with classroom learning. As many as 40 to 60 percent of high school students are chronically disengaged in educational activities, causing concern among parents and educators alike. However, many institutions are now incorporating a wide range of technological systems, including mobile devices and SMART classroom designs. This hardware can bolster engagement, including the following strategies:

Trade text for media
As many of today’s students are more engaged by visuals, teachers have been using audio and visual technology tools as opposed to presenting material only in text. For example, in addition to assigning students to read a passage about a certain subject, educators can show a video in class to complement the lesson. In addition, streaming media platform YouTube offers a specialized educational channel providing learning materials for students, including material from user-created education channels Crash Course and Khan Academy. In this way, students are presenting with new information in a way that appeals to their learning style.

Connect with outside experts online
Another way to bolster student engagement in the classroom is to connect with an outside expert on a certain subject matter through technological systems. Teachers can host online conversations or video conferences with experts in the field students are learning about. This allows individuals the opportunity to connect with a previously unavailable source of information, and is a unique way of presenting the lesson.

Utilize individual mobile devices
A number of schools have begun providing individual mobile devices, including tablets and laptops, for students to use during class time. Last year, one Minnesota school district introduced iPads into 32 classrooms and tracked student performance. According to the results, 23 of the classes showed a boost in student achievement. Another 24 classrooms illustrated an increase in student motivation and 20 classrooms enhanced overall student learning.

Mobile devices for student use can be beneficial in a wide range of capacities, providing new capabilities and uses not previously achievable in a classroom setting. Students can take tests, complete activities and access online materials from their own device, which improves overall engagement in learning.

Technology to bolster collaboration
Some schools including one North Carolina district have begun deploying SMART classroom technology. These systems can feature a range of collaborative devices, including SMART boards and other workstations. With these arrangements in place, educators can allow students to work individually, as well as in groups, boosting collaboration and engagement. These results were seen recently in an Onslow County district, where one teacher was selected for a SMART classroom makeover. Keith Holland, Camcor and SMART Technologies representative, said the systems can transform education.

“The flexible classroom spaces multiple SMART Boards can offer promotes student centered-learning, small group interactive lessons and together with … [a] 1-1 initiative, individual learning,” Holland noted.

Effective Classroom Management
However, when investing in new technological systems like SMART classroom arrangements or mobile devices, administrators must ensure a return on investment through effective management. Decision makers can implement classroom management software for improved oversight of student technology to guarantee the systems are used to bolster engagement.

Suzannah Hastings

Suzannah is interested in all things digital, from software security to the latest technological advances. She writes about ways in which the increasingly internet-driven landscape changes our lives, and what we can expect in the future.