Many urban districts across the United States are committing to a fully-online 2020-2021 school year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Here in Ohio, this represents almost 25% of all students. Another 24% are using a hybrid schedule with remote learning some days and other days in-person. The previous trend toward digital technology becoming ubiquitous in the physical classroom is being dramatically accelerated by the virus. Even the almost 50% of students that will be entirely in school physically next year are affected by the digitized classroom. It is imperative for teachers to create interactive environments to keep their students excited to learn.
Strategies & Tools
There are various tools that one can use to approach digital engagement. Choosing a learning platform, such as Google Classroom, Schoology, or ClassDojo, is the first step in creating a space where teachers and students can communicate virtually. All options allow videos, text and other media. These other mediums of communication are essential, as many students begin to feel left out and don’t learn as well when they don’t feel like a part of the class. They enable the engaging portions of digital classrooms: things like “lightning rounds”, competitive quiz software such as Kahoot, randomizer questions (pick a random number and you do that question number), virtual field trips or QR codes for embedding more in-depth content. The digital meetings over Zoom/Google Meet and recorded lesson videos leave some students yawning in front of their computers at home day after day. Make your class the one they look forward to each school day!
The main strategy behind the interactive digital classroom is gamification. Everybody loves seeing their progress showcased in a tangible way, especially when it’s compared to their peers. Learning becomes a fun competition for students who can battle it out with their friends (or enemies) for that #1 spot on this week’s point leaderboard. Just like in a video game, students can acquire points to ultimately defeat the final boss or reach the goal and win. This kind of engaging system can be achieved a variety of ways, like through a badging system similar to the Boy Scouts’ model (and Forward Edge’s own Edge•U Badges program, too), tournament quiz software, stickers for good behavior/accomplishments, reward points to cash in at the end of the month for prizes, etc. The point is to reward a desired behavior with some kind of trackable prize/distinguishment that makes it fun for students.
Train Your Educators
Here at Forward Edge, we have the ability to get the tools your teachers need to create interactive digital classrooms. As previously mentioned, our EdgeU program awards badges for accomplishing tasks with technology in the classroom. This is designed to give teachers the experience to put these tools in their curriculum. Learn Adobe Spark, Bitmoji, Chrome Music Lab, ClassDojo, Kahoot, and more! Learn more here.
To summarize, it is challenging to overestimate the importance of engaging your students in a digital environment. To curb this issue, educators can gamify their content, which can be done with a variety of tools (get the nitty gritty here), of which some are listed below:
- Reward points
Forward Edge knows that sometimes, it is a challenge to help teachers and peers accustomed to using technology, especially when it is in a fully-remote environment. COVID-19 threw many educators into the water to either sink or swim, when it came to technology. That’s why we created a specific path in our EdgeU program tailored to these needs on our website (access it here and contact us for details). Don’t get caught unprepared when the new school year starts! Call Forward Edge at (513) 761-3343 or visit our website for some help in creating interactive digital classrooms.