Keeping Students Engaged

5 Apr

With so many technologies being used nowadays, and students learning to use them at such a young age, the attention span of students seems to be decreasing with every year that passes. Because of this it makes it very difficult for teachers to keep the students engaged as well as get the students to participate. A recent pew research study says that 75% of students have cell phones and 73% of students use social networking sites. This are huge numbers compared to what they were when even I was a kid, where no one knew what a social networking site was and I shared a cell phone with my 2 brothers.

In an era where so many technologies are at our fingertips, why not use them to our advantage? Let’s talk about some ways we can do that:

Youtube is a great source for teaching. Not many young students out there want to hear Ben Stein drone on and on, they want to be entertained. Youtube is a great way to entertain, videos and clips can explain things much better than just a lecture (if a picture is worth 1,000 words, what is a video worth?). With so many videos on Youtube, you are bound to find something that pertains to what you are teaching.

Gaming is another very useful tool for students, and I am not talking about Madden or Grand Theft Auto (even though Madden taught me how to count by 7’s). There are many sites out there like funbrain and knowledgeadventure that are catered directly towards making games to help young kids learn. This is made easier by schools having access to more and more computers, especially if you have a school like mine where they replaced the DARE program with more laptops. You can use these games to hold weekly competitions in class and have rewards for the winner/kids who learn the most.

Multi-media assignments are a very reachable goal for younger students now. I didn’t have to do my first power-point presentation until late into my high school career. Students today are so tech savvy that they would much more enjoy making a video or doing a presentation instead of writing an essay. If I could have made a short film for every book report instead of writing a 3-page report, my entertainment level and grades would have been so much higher throughout my schooling. There are also many websites out there that give not only great ideas for multi-media assignments, but are also very good for finding research.

These are just three of many ideas that teachers have had to embrace technology and keep their students engaged. There are also simple tricks that have nothing to do with technology, like changing up your teaching style, and asking your students more questions. Whatever you can do to keep students entertained will make their learning experience and your teaching experience much more enjoyable.

What are some ideas that you have found work for keeping students engaged?


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