Top 5 Ways to Keep Students Engaged in 21st Century Classrooms

Potato Pirates

You know how there’s always that one student who’s dozing off in class no matter how many times you tell them off? Well, by the time you’re done integrating these 5 tips in your lessons, you’ll be a teaching force to be reckoned with! No more sleepy students.

1. Make that content relatable

Using gifs, memes or anything trendy to elicit some type of emotional response from your students during lessons makes all the difference! Be it being tickled, surprised or simply embarrassed (for you). Recalling content is much easier when it’s linked with feelings. Tailor the content and examples - the more personal and applicable the better. Learners will understand and remember these concepts more effortlessly.

use memes in classrooms

One way you can do this is by drawing the link between the topic you're starting on to their future goals. Take for example, knowing how and why the laws of motion in Physics can help prevent injuries in their sports activities. Or how learning phonics can spell the difference between someone being a Very Important Person and being a Very Impotent Person. Now, you just made it into something that they'd want to know and even scored some humour points! Furthermore, seeing these concepts in current trends and events will prove that there really is utility in what they are learning. Now they can’t say “When will I ever need to know this in real life?!” - teachers 1, students 0.

2. Interactive Quizzes

A perfect accompaniment to BYOD (bring your own device) lessons, Kahoot allows you to track students' response time to answer a question and the distribution of their answers. This provides you with more insight into which concepts they find more difficult to understand or the common misconceptions they have. What’s even better is the ready made quizzes and multiple game modes (team or experiment) available. Nothing beats bringing out their competitive spirits to spur learning than a little healthy competition.

use interactive tools in classrooms

GoFormative distinguishes itself by enabling different answer input methods. Instead of being restricted to submitting answers in words or numbers, students can also answer in drawings or other forms of expression. This makes it superbly ideal for visual learners as it allows them to express their learning beyond words. Isn’t it heartening to see a greater variety of learning styles being embraced!

Plickers makes classrooms more engaging

Unplugged lessons? Don’t worry, Plickers has got your back. With just a simple app and paper, offline quizzes can be assessed with a snapshot. Students just need to rotate the QR codes on their sheet of paper to indicate which of the options is their chosen answer. And teachers just need their phone to scan the classroom. The app will then capture the answers and deliver instantaneous results. That's right, it's as simple as that!

3. No more dull Powerpoint slides

Powtoon is a platform for slide animation. It will reinvent the way your presentations look with its multiple functions all wrapped up in one platform. Try your hand at recording your own voiceovers, putting in animated characters and arranging the timeline - let your slideshow do the teaching for you! With fluid transitions and easily customisable templates, we wouldn’t blame you if you never went back to PowerPoint.

Another awesome tool is one of our personal favourites, Canva. To put it simply, it’s our go-to designing platform. Canva has countless templates and themes that let you design your very own sophisticated presentation. Plus, the sheer number of its layouts it has for various purposes like social media posts, infographics and even resumes is nothing short of impressive! It's super user-friendly and has such variety that it definitely leaves many other similar platforms in the dust.

4. Switch it up!

Let your students teach their classmates or even other schoolmates! Give them the power to be in charge of their own learning and take pride in their creations. Not only will this encourage group collaboration & peer learning, their first-hand learning will also boost the stickiness of the content.

Setting tasks like these allow them to learn at their own pace and polishes their public speaking skills. Having them use their own methods to teach the content will promote independence and ensure diversity in teaching styles that can help cater to the various types of learners better. In finding ways to present their learning points, they’ll also be exposed to more online tools that will enhance their tech literacy as well. We couldn’t think of a better win-win situation!

Bring classes outside, bring topics to life and bring boredom to a minimum as they experience the content in environments they’re actually applied in. We all know how much excursions excited every one of us. Even if there isn’t a complete 180 change in location, just a trip to the lab or library was so much more enthralling than staying in the stagnant classroom.

5. Gamify learning

 Teach coding concepts offline with this innovative card game that encourages social learning and critical thinking. Potato Pirates will banish boredom and inject excitement into your lessons! Indulge your students with a lesson of fun-filled learning as they power up attacks with code, devise clever strategies and form alliances to remain the last Potato Pirate sailing. The best part of this? Setup is easy and learning endless. Just don’t be surprised when you find your colleagues shouting “Potato King!!” over a round of Potato Pirates. You’ll be doing the same soon enough ;)

This classroom management tool will spice up your class participation and boost your connections with both students and parents! Add game points to the shy kid for volunteering to answer a question, the persevering student who keeps trying or students who exemplify the school values. Create a community with safe open communication channels between teachers, parents and students. Most importantly, connect your students to the learning process and recognise that what they’re developing isn’t purely academic competence!

There are so many areas to explore - integrating educational video games, modifying your favourite old school games for classroom learning, incorporating a reward system. Give your students a reason to look forward to class with these refreshing approaches! These novel methods will keep students on their toes and break boring routine classes. So gear up and embark on your journey towards the 21st century classroom.

Before you shred all your current lesson plans, it is important to note that these methods works best when introduced incrementally. Give your students time to get accustomed to the new style and pace of the lesson before introducing the next new component. Now that you have these 5 super tips in your repertoire of teaching tools, you’re ready to give your students the best years of their education!

If there’s someone who needs to know about these fabulous classroom additions, share this with them!

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