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3 ways to increase student engagement in your classroom

By Lee Brenner 10/27/2015 Assessment

“There is now a massive amount of evidence from all realms of science that unless individuals take a very active role in what it is that they're studying, unless they learn to ask questions, to do things hands on, to essentially recreate things in their own mind and transform them as is needed, the ideas just disappear." - Howard Gardner

Without question, one of the keystones to academic achievement is active learning. With the new school year in full swing, below are three proven ways to increase student engagement levels within your classroom.

Reach students through technology. According to research, personalized, collaborative and connected learning experiences enhance student engagement, which in turn drives student success. By integrating technology in the classroom, educators can take learning experiences to the next level and significantly improve student performance. For instance, due to the introduction of new classroom technology, the student engagement rate has improved by 55 percent in colleges over the last decade, according to a Gallup survey.

Technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the classroom, with 93 percent of teachers now using some sort of digital tool to guide instruction. It’s critical that teachers understand how to effectively use technology to enhance their lessons and increase their students’ retention, comprehension and engagement.

Free assessment tools, such as Microsoft’s Pulse in the Classroom, allow real-time, easy-to-use tools to check for understanding, quiz and evaluate gaps in learning.

Teach at the pace your students learn best. With the availability of real-time data, teachers can provide personalized help and instruction to students, allowing them to learn at their own pace. Technology allows teachers to effortlessly adapt to students’ pace, understanding and style to increase classroom comprehension and learning retention.

Students can use their own devices, such as cell phones, or a school-issued laptop or tablet to communicate in real-time about a lesson or discussion topic. Using polling software, results show up instantly on the teachers’ dashboard, allowing educators to adapt their lessons according to student feedback and assist students who need it. Instant student feedback makes teacher-led instruction much more engaging.

Check knowledge in real-time: Sometimes teachers want to know if their students understand the content and are retaining class material without the cumbersome task of administering and grading a quiz. Real-time quizzing and polling tools from Microsoft’s Pulse in the Classroom let teachers quiz students without interrupting the lesson or picking up a gradebook.  

Additionally, teachers can group their classes into teams to turn the once-dreaded quiz time into a collaborative, and even gamified, learning experience.

Technology today can encompass anything from educational gaming, document sharing, real-time collaborative tools, student response systems and digital organizational methods. Since all teachers possess unique skills, knowledge and experience, they should choose the technology tools that resonate with their teaching style and classroom goals. 

Lee Brenner leads global business development and media partnerships for Microsoft's Bing Pulse.  

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