Deena Kimmel, Social Media & Community Manager

How to Support Engaged Learning with EdTech

This year’s TCEA Convention & Exposition is all about engagement. As sponsors of this year’s conference (you can find us at Booth #1545), we wanted to explore this theme further, particularly the focus on engaged learning.

As their teaser video reveals, TCEA is on a mission, 24/7, to engaged learning.

In preparation for TCEA and its focus on engagement, we wanted to learn more about engaged learning and how teachers, with the help of edtech, can support that engagement.

What is engaged learning?

Typically, when you think of an engaged student, they are paying attention, raising their hand to contribute to the discussion, and taking part in classroom activities.

But what is motivating that student to focus on and participate in the lesson? As Richard Strong, Harvey F. Silver and Amy Robinson discovered, engaged students are motivated by four main goals:
  1. Success
  2. Curiosity
  3. Originality
  4. Relationships
Based on these four goals, it becomes clear that engaged learning is not one-size-fits-all. Each student can have a different definition for success, a different curiosity or context that ignites their interest, a different way they’d like to express themselves, and a different method they prefer of working with others.

Therefore, engaged learning is personal, fueled by the student’s unique motivations. So, what role does the teacher play in supporting engaged learning and how can they do so while keeping each individual student in mind?

The role of the teacher in engaged learning

Although engaged learning is heavily dependent on the individual student, the teacher still has a critical role in creating opportunities for engaged learning: “Teachers play a vital role in their students’ engagement and motivation (Hill & Rowe, 1996). Although much is intrinsic to the student, research has found that teacher’s play a vital role on their students’ motivation and engagement.”

Here are a few key ways that teachers can support engaged learning for every student:
  • Prepare students for success - Work with students in advance to determine what success looks like for them. If students are working towards goals that are important to them and achievable, they will be more confident in their learning and more motivated to complete the assignment.
  • Help them navigate failure - Help students understand what to do if and when they reach stumbling blocks. In doing this, they’ll learn how to manage failures in a positive way. By turning failures into learning opportunities, students can continue to engage with their learning despite a setback.
  • Increase student choice - Let students choose what topic to write about, how to do their research or what method they use to present their learnings. This will enable students to bring their own personal experiences to their learning, increasing curiosity and originality.
  • Encourage social learning - Give students opportunities to work with others. In doing this, they are able to build social skills and enhance their peer relationships, both of which are critical to motivation and engagement.
  • Build a safe space - Ensure that students feel comfortable within your classroom so that they can engage fully in the learning without feeling threatened or judged. This may take different forms for different students, depending on their learning styles and strengths.

How can edtech help teachers?

There are a wide variety of education technology tools out there (which will be on full display in the Exhibit Hall at TCEA). Of course, not all of them are geared specifically towards supporting engaged learning. But, many of them have key features that can support teachers in accomplishing the engaged learning techniques listed above.
  • Online course management tools help teachers organize classroom resources into one location so that students can quickly and easily access all of the information they need to achieve success.
  • Grading tools (ex. WriQ®) collect data that help teachers track individual student progress over time. With this information, teachers can personalize each student’s goals based on their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Digital content creation tools (ex. Read&Write or EquatIO®), as well as presentation tools, provide students with a variety of options for showcasing their understanding and presenting it to the teacher or class. With this flexibility, students can choose the method they prefer to express themselves, increasing their interest, confidence, and engagement.
  • Online collaboration tools enable students to work together on a project in real time, enabling them to brainstorm ideas and keep track of their individual and collective work.
  • Formative assessment tools enable students to share responses anonymously with the class or complete an exercise that is sent directly to the teacher (ex. Fluency Tutor® for GoogleTM). This takes away the pressure that some students feel when having to participate in front of the whole class.
So, as you explore the booths at TCEA and attend all of the incredible sessions, keep engaged learning in mind. You never know what tools you may discover that could help you take your student engagement to the next level.

And if you want to learn more about Texthelp’s edtech tools, please stop by Booth #1545 at TCEA for a live demo.

In the meantime, how do you support engaged learning in your classroom? Do you use EdTech tools to engage your students? Tell us in the comments below, we'd love to hear your thoughts!


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