Posted in Technology

8 Ways to Keep Learners Engaged

8 Simple Ways of Keeping Learners Engaged

1. Allow students guided options in how they would like to learn the material: Give them more say in choosing a topic to investigate and write about. Let them collaborate on Pinterest boards to organize, comment, and share materials.

2. Let them choose how to demonstrate what they learned: Multimedia presentations, such as using audio and video, can help with keeping students engaged through use of creativity. Let them demonstrate concepts by tying in today’s technology in the classroom to content and lessons in ways that are relevant and interesting to them.

3. Get them thinking: Students want to do be empowered to create solutions. Pose a problem with a short description which students must then investigate in order to develop a solution (ex: What can be done to curb or utilize a certain local invasive species?). Another exercise focused on keeping students engaged is to have them create physical prototypes to solve a problem through functional application.

4. Create an environment that allows exploration and multiple “right” choices: Students should not have to feel penalized for making a mistake, but rather motivated to eliminate one more way that doesn’t work in the quest to find a solution. Scholastic helps to get teachers in the mindset of exploring possibilities in search of a solution.

5. Offer school advisories and peer mentoring: These are ways to promote positive social engagement and create an environment that is more welcoming to those with different abilities and backgrounds.

6. Create a positive emotional climate: Ask about your learners’ feelings as they reflect upon a project, or an important topic such as bullying. In addition, be open and available to them if they should seek the advice of an adult on something more personal. Many students have no one to talk to about troubling personal or family problems. When troubled, kids are more prone to misbehave and less able to concentrate, and it can be a struggle keeping learners engaged in such cases. Teachers and counsellors are important individuals in helping children handle such situations.

7. Build routines and cues into your classroom: classroom routine creates the necessary structure that supports child development and offers a sense of comfort for younger students. As such, they know what to expect next, which is important when students come from disadvantaged or ever-changing backgrounds. Cues and games help to refocus a classroom when attention drifts away.

8. Incorporate movement into activities: Getting up and getting the blood flowing is a nice way for children to use some kinaesthetic movement and hands-on learning, and expend a little energy. For optimum health, adults need to change positions and activities frequently within the day. Why wouldn’t children have similar needs?

Teachers can succeed in keeping learners engaged and actively making discoveries in class using the above practices. Ultimately they will help each of you in getting the most from the learning environment. Start with these suggestions, and begin to incorporate your own. Then you can watch your levels of student engagement soar.

Posted in Technology Blogs

SMART See Summit 2017

SMART SEE Summit 2017

What is a SEE Summit? A Smart Exemplary Educator (SEE) Summit is an extraordinary experience like no other. A SEE Summit is where an amazing group of technology teachers from all around the world gather and share ideas about how they are using technology to enhance student outcomes.

My ‘twice in a lifetime’ experience this year was as a mentor. This experience enabled me to see the Summit from other people’s perspectives and to mentor their way through this incredible week.

The SMART Team have an incredible way of showing teachers how much they appreciate what they do for the company. From the very beginning, the initial welcome dinner to the welcome pack, to the T-Shirts, to the networking, to the Collaboration…’s all in thanks for what WE do as teachers in the classroom.

The highlight for me was the ‘Hackathon’. These sessions gave us the opportunity to work with SMART’s Software Developers to improve or develop new software with them. It gave us teachers a voice to what is needed in the classroom. What other company lets you tell them what teachers want?

This experience was like no other professional development that I’ve ever experienced. I had the privilege of working with 32 dedicated professionals, the amazing staff at SMART, creative and ingenious developers and seeing the amazing Canadian culture in a way that no one would be able to experience without the collaboration of staff and teachers. I will never forget the friendships, the networks and the hospitality of this week. Thank you SMART for this privilege. It will always hold dear to my heart.