Education has been evolving continually. Yet poor student engagement remains an issue in many lesson settings globally. Students are being too disruptive. Students are not participating enough. Content is too boring. There's too much content. Classes last too long. Classes are too fast-paced. These are just some of the many complaints.
Student Engagement Matters
Student engagement refers to the level of attention and interest that students exhibit when they are being taught. High student engagement has been shown to not only increase student satisfaction but also enhances student motivation. (Martin, Florence, Bolliger & Doris U, 2018). In short, a higher level of student engagement would generally result in an increase in their performance and grades.
Currently, as lessons are being held online, teachers are struggling to actively interact and engage with students, leading to a strained teacher-and-student connection. While it is easy to just chalk it up to the added distance and lack of physical interaction, we feel that other factors are compounding upon this barrier.
Students around the world are struggling to stay engaged online
Firstly, with the current situation in the world, not only teachers but humans, parents, children, siblings, and friends alike are all being affected. Everyone is stressed, having to lead different lifestyles, juggling between both health and work crises. It is no surprise that anyone is able to fully perform in all aspects. With such limited times on our hands, it would be unrealistic to demand so much from teachers.
Secondly, most teachers, and we can attest to this as educators ourselves, are struggling to keep up with having to constantly innovate for new ways of teaching. Each student is different and to have to accommodate each and every student's learning style is a daunting task. As such, most teachers merely repeat the same educational content and teaching methods. This usually leads to poor student engagement as students would tend to find the content or teaching style boring.
Lastly, building upon the previous point, students have different learning speeds and the best way to find out each student's pace is through regular assessments. However, this can be a huge challenge for teachers as this would further increase their workloads. Additionally, students may feel very stressed if they were to constantly have tests every week and fail to perform.
Areas For Improvement
In combatting all these issues, many teachers have enlisted the use of technology to aid them in bridging the teacher-and-student gap. Through the use of online applications, teachers are able to innovate through a simple and easy-to-use platform, creating from interactive videos to virtual worlds for students to explore, create and collaborate. Yet, there exists countless different applications on the internet, what's the right platform for you?
A venn diagram to help you match the tool to purpose!
Ruzuku allows you to create easy step-by-step online courses with their platform. By heavily simplifying on the process of creating an online course, without compromising on its features, you can easily create a highly interactive course for students to participate and give real-time feedback. If you ever face any issues, they have a readily available team that is always down to assist and craft the best experience possible for your students. If you wish to easily provide your students with courses that are always fresh and new, this may be what you are looking for.
Edzpuzzle is a free assessment-centered tool that allows teachers and students to create interactive online videos by embedding either open-ended or multiple-choice questions, audio notes, audio tracks, or comments in a video. Students can choose to learn at their own pace by freely adjusting the speed of the videos. If you wish to simply narrate and annotate over a video, Edpuzzle allows for that. For teachers who are looking to engage their students through videos, this will be handy for you too.
3. Minecraft : Education Edition
Minecraft is a sandbox video game where players explore a blocky pixelated world. In this game, players are free to discover, craft, fight, farm, build, and many more! With this concept, what Minecraft: Education Edition does is provide a space for educators to create their lesson plans, allowing students within to collaborate, create and innovate within a guided environment. With imagination as the only barrier, we recommend this if you’re looking for honing the creativity and problem-solving skills of your students!
Teach whatever you want in this open space!
Wooclap is a web-based platform that transforms smartphones into learning tools to make learning fun and interactive. Through the platform, students are able to answer questions in various manners (i.e: polls, rating, fill in the blanks). The results will then be displayed on the presentation screen. This platform increases class participation while also allowing teachers to monitor their students' understanding of the topic. If you wish for students to be continuously participating over the course of your presentation, you can give this product a try!
Kahoot! is a freemium game-based learning platform used by millions of people around the world every day to discover, create, play and share learning games! With over 5 billion players since launch and over 250 million games played in the last 12 months, they are certainly a platform that has been recognised by educators and students globally. Kahoot games are best played in a group setting with a big, shared screen to display everyone’s performances! They also can be played on any device as long as you have a browser and decent internet connection, making them great for lecture settings! If you’re looking for feedback and participation from your audience, this is the platform for you.
Nearpod is a presentation program that aids educators in their classes by making lessons interactive. Students are able to access a teacher’s presentation, interacting with the elements in the slides as the teacher progresses with a lesson. Teachers can also opt for the Student-Paced mode where students control the pace of the lessons. Sessions can be joined as long as you have a device with a working internet connection. If you wish to engage your students with dynamic media and videos, then we recommend this platform for you!
Rolljak is our project! It is a platform that allows students and teachers alike to learn, create and ideate. From open-ended questions to collaboration modes to drawing your own answers, you can choose however you want to engage your students and how you want them to collaborate. If you wish for your students to grow in collaborative skills and creative thinking, do take a look at our product. Our beta-test is starting real soon and we hope you can join us to give us some feedback too. Be the first to try Rolljak in your classroom!
Teaching is tough but with these platforms, it can be easier. Take a break while increasing the engagement of your lessons by trying any of these platforms out!