Thursday, 12 February 2015

Technology and Student Engagment

As you know I love integrating technology into my classroom and recently I've been thinking about how this technology use improves student engagement in our classroom.  Having this student engagement allows for smoother classroom management. I don't have to get after my students to be on task as often as they are engaging in the task at hand or the discussion going on. Having this engagement allows for students to be more successful when it comes to assessment.

There are many different ways we use technology in my classroom that leads to student engagement. I'll start with blogging. I am a big promoter of the use of blogging in the classroom for various reasons. Other teachers ask me why it is better than blogging and besides the fact that I don't have to bring home 20 notebooks to mark, it allows for student engagement. The students are engaged because they for some reason find it fun. I am not sure the exact reason for their higher level of engagement when blogging compared to writing in their journals. Maybe it is because they to get to share their writing with their classmates and classes around the world as well as their with their parents or maybe it is because they can easily fix up mistakes and don't have to worry about the neatness of their writing. What I do know is that students can be in different spots in writers workshop and on different writing topics but, all be working in silence (well other than the tapping of the keyboard keys). They can flow from stage to stage without interruption. If this doesn't show student engagement, then I don't know what would.

Another technology tool that we use that allows for student learning and engagement is using Skype or Google Hangout.  These video-conferencing technologies allow for my students to interact with students from all parts of North America and even the world. It is a great way to talk about our learning. Last week my students had the opportunity too; have the author of our read aloud Skype in and be our guest reader, teach some teachers how to do mystery number Skype, teach a class at another school in our district how to do #ilovetoreadbingo as well as how to do mystery number Skype, and sit in on a Skype call our grade 2 class made to Dettah, Northwest Territories. It is pretty easy to see their high level of engagement by the way their eyes are glued to the screen and with their big smiles. The Skype with the author John Spencer was the biggest success at student engagement through technology as they were smiling through the whole thing and silent.

Another hit with my 3BBBees was #mathphotoaday-you can check it out here. The students would come in the the morning and have the math prompt board on most groups would be done creating their mathphotoaday concept before the announcements finished-such engagement!

Tweeting as a class provides engagement too as students are excited to connect to classes from other places so they can learn. They, also, love tweeting with their favourite book character-Wendell the World's Worst Wizard. The author of the book is amazing and does a great job connecting with my students which engages and in turn inspires them. This alone could be one blog topic-maybe next time.

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