Stronger Student Engagement
Technology turns blank stares into focused energy.
When learning is relevant and catered to student interests, they transform from passive to active learners who are more engaged in the subject and in school.
Deepening Student Learning with More Engaging Resources
Educators in phase 1 of our study stressed the importance of active, not passive, learners. Providing students with access to current and varied digital resources can develop a deeper, more engaged understanding of a topic. As a result, students learn through critical thinking, problem solving, and inquiry—important skills for college and career readiness.
A substantial body of research shows student-centered, active learning strategies increase student learning and achievement. Active learning is associated with improved student academic performance, increased engagement, critical thinking, and better attitudes toward learning.
More Opportunities to Engage in Learning
Because technology provides access to multiple resources on any given topic, students take more responsibility for their own learning. For example, a school that employed flipped learning noted that the role of the educator shifted from content specialist to learning specialist, helping guide students on their own path rather than forcing them down one. At a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) site, students use their own mobile devices in class to look up and share information during discussions, which further extends and/or deepens their learning. Technology has enabled students to actively search online for their own answers to questions, rather than waiting for the answer from the teacher.
Providing Purpose for School Work
Technology has the potential to widen the audience for student work. Not only can students collaborate through virtual labs and classrooms, but they also share their experiences and learning on discussion boards, in chat rooms, and through blogs, becoming creators of content rather than consumers of it. Educators reported that students put more time and effort into their work when it is displayed publically online.
Recommendations: Creating Opportunities for Engagement
For educators, helping students to acquire skills to direct their own learning caused them to shift their focus from providing answers to guiding the discovery of those answers. A few recommendations:
- Look for digital experiences that are not possible without technology
- Use technology during class time to change up the experience
- Give opportunities to explore a topic outside of class, and reward students who do
- Engage student with collaborative activities outside the classroom
- Create friendly competitions
Teachers in Meridian, Idaho, are using technology to excite students about learning.