What is student engagement?
What does it mean?
How do we define it? Identify it? Promote it?
The simple way to look at student engagement is as a form of the verb phrase, to engage.
To engage in their education and their time at school, the student shows care and effort. They have a desire to know more, work harder and become more involved.
An engaged student will,
- be aware of the areas in which they are not excelling
- be able to think critically about what they read and see
- be using creative approaches to complete assignments and inform their learning
- and be finding ways to work with others to produce effective results.
To engage, students need to connect with the learning material and their educational environment. When a student feels connected they are more likely to remember information. They are also more likely connect with their peers and faculty and realize higher standards of achievement. Student engagement is thus created through learning experiences that speak to the individual student.
So, the question is, how do we create a personalized learning experience for each student?
Technology, it turns out, figures prominently in the answer to this question.
It’s not uncommon to find teachers with students as young as five, using iPads in their classroom. It’s also not uncommon to see university and college students using their phones to study. This is because almost all electronic tools offer a personalized user experience. As a result, students are able to improve the way they learn thereby maximizing engagement.
The market for education technology tools and higher education tech tools is boundless. There are a lot of different options out there. From apps to devices and everything in between, it can hard to find the best tools for student engagement.
To make things simple, you can think about student engagement technology in two categories: tools for educators and tools for students.
Tools for educators refers to technology that is geared toward the classroom learning experience. This can be something like incorporating YouTube videos into a lesson or using a device that allows students to answer questions during your lecture.
Tools for students refers to technology that students use individually to help them learn. This can be things like apps for the organization or a website that creates flashcards.
There are a lot of different options out there. You could even go so far as to say there’s a tech tool out there for every kind of learner and every kind of problem. Which is why it’s important to first understand the obstacles to engagement. Once you understand what is getting in the way of your students’ engagement, you can research a tool to help them succeed.
For example, let’s say your students are struggling to engage because they have trouble studying. In that case, you should look for an app that helps students by showing them what, when and how long they need to study. Some apps will even help students find the ideal study partner.
There are a number of apps out there and the problems they solve are endless. However, the takeaway here is this:
- engagement is defined as a student that is connected to their learning,
- engagement requires a personalized learning experience,
- you need to discover the obstacles to student engagement
- and research how you or technology can help.
The information in this blog was derived from research done by Tara Tressel.