How technology can help teachers boost student engagement

How technology can help teachers boost student engagement

This article was produced in partnership with Vivi, the only wireless screen mirroring and digital signage tool designed for education.

Vivi is the only wireless screen mirroring and digital signage tool designed for education. The company helps IT help teachers help students with classroom technology that enhances collaboration, control, and creativity. Vivi currently supports more than 1,000 schools, 40,000 classrooms, and 250,000 students and teachers.

A growing body of research has revealed a strong correlation between student engagement and achievement in the classroom.

Research has also shown that when students are engaged in the learning process, it increases their focus and attention and pushes them to adopt higher-level critical-thinking skills – something that all schools are eager to promote as young people prepare to face an increasingly complex world beyond the school gates.

While most educators recognise the value of engaging students, this is often easier said than done.

Vivi recently released report – co-branded with Screencastify – titled “Using technology in the classroom to better engage students”. The 48-page industry report examined the barriers to engaging students and, most importantly, how educators can overcome them.

What are the biggest barriers to engaging students?

One of the biggest barriers to engagement, it seems, is the students themselves. Without interest, effort and a commitment to learning, the subject matter and delivery make little impact.

Several teachers made references to the challenges of maintaining engagement during remote learning, while others said students’ behaviour in the classroom has changed now that they have returned to a face-to-face environment after such a prolonged period away.

One teacher reported that their students simply “don’t know how to be in a classroom environment anymore.”

Another made the observation that while wearing masks in a classroom prevents the spread of disease, it can be very difficult to know which student is speaking. Distractions were a common theme. Many said there were lots of them inside—and outside—the classroom.

Some teachers said students spent too much time gaming or on their phones, which made maintaining any interest in schoolwork a challenge. “Unfortunately,” said one teacher, “a cell phone is more interesting than I am.”

Poor attendance was identified as a problem by some, and others said language and other socioeconomic factors sometimes presented a barrier to engagement.

One said: “some of my students do not have phones and have no Wi-Fi at home and so it is a juggling act to try to provide them with the means they need to engage in class without affecting their self-esteem.”

Some teachers referenced challenges with technology. Sometimes there were not enough devices to distribute them on a 1:1 ratio, and sometimes technology failed. Occasionally, students couldn’t get to grips with the technology or, at the other extreme, were underwhelmed by it.

Teachers also made mention of the lack of time they had to spend with individuals. With students all operating at different levels, it was difficult to make content relevant and relatable to all members of the classroom.

These are all obstacles that teachers find difficult to overcome. For many, the solution lies in relationships. Some take time to socialise with students before and after class—making sure to note down important details so they can reference them in future conversations.

According to one, the solution “… isn’t about academics. Students will learn what you teach if they like you.”

Others experiment with different formats, trying to mix up lessons to maintain engagement. They spend a great deal of time searching for or developing interesting media and planning for things like group activities and rotation stations.

Overcoming barriers to student engagement

Vivi’s is helping more than 1,000 schools wirelessly display written material, images or videos to students who can then annotate the content with their own notes using their own devices.

Below, the company’s executive team highlight several important ways in which teachers can leverage the power of technology to not only keep students engaged in the classroom but ensure their learning outcomes are genuinely impactful, and measurable.

Make classes collaborative and fun

Studies have shown that gamifying learning can engage students in a new and unique way. Vivi’s classroom resources allow teachers to turn their classes into collaborative learning opportunities where teachers and students share work while simultaneously providing and receiving instant feedback.

Notes in the cloud

Cloud technology has provided schools with an exciting alternative to blackboards and VCR players. Vivi has taken learning into the digital age with smart features and cloud computing that make learning from anywhere an absolute breeze. With Vivi’s screen capture and annotation tool, note-taking is made simple, with everything automatically saved to the cloud.

Interactive and engaging

Vivi allows users to drive lesson interaction with a digital whiteboard feature that gives teachers the ability to present to multiple displays, while also allowing four students to present their work to the one display simultaneously.

Digital signage and live broadcasting

In schools, mass communication is usually carried out over an PA system. But with Vivi, you can deliver messages using the Digital Signage and Live Broadcast features, tailoring messages to specific cohorts, either campus-wide, or directly into certain classrooms. This becomes a particularly powerful tool in the event of a health and safety emergency.

Analyse and measure engagement

With Vivi’s enterprise-level dashboard feature, analysing and measuring student-teacher usage and engagement is quick and easy. This makes sure teachers can always refer to records and track the individual performance of students, at any time of year.

Happier, more engaged students

Vivi’s student wellbeing surveys allow teachers to gather immediate emotional feedback. If a student is struggling to keep up with work, or their emotions, they can give feedback quickly and discreetly to request support from the teacher. As studies show, a happier student is more likely to be an engaged student.