21st Century Tool to Boost Student Engagement

Students-Tech-in-Classrooms Part of work at BC was studying student engagement.  I studied research and case studies around the theme of student engagement. I learned that high levels of student engagement are commonly believed to be critical to learning.  Student engagement implies both affective and behavioral participation in the learning experience (Marks, 2000).  Wang and Holcombe (2010) offer a more complex, yet similar definition of student engagement.  “We operationalize adolescents’ school engagement as school participation (behavioral engagement), school identification (emotional engagement), and use of self-regulation strategies (cognitive engagement)”  (p.634).  In each case, the focus of the definition hinges on a level of student participation in the learning process.  Corso, Bundick, Quaglia, and Haywood (2013) express their belief in the importance of engagement in realizing high levels of student learning by stating,   “The more students are engaged in their schoolwork, the more likely they are to perform well academically, obtaining higher grades in their classes and higher scores on standardized tests” (p. 50).  Vito (1994) and Corso, et al. (2013) also both describe what students are doing when engaged in classroom learning and how teachers can shape curriculum and instruction to maximize engagement.  In doing so, they concentrate on the classroom and do not significantly address outside factors that may affect student engagement.

In my case study in a middles school in Metro-West,  I found common Factors that Impact Student Engagement:

  • Teacher and student Relationship and trust
  • Relevance of the content
  • Teacher Planning, Monitoring and Adjustments to Practice

The purpose of my study was examine teachers’ perceptions on student engagement and the practices that impact it.  The findings from the present study support the existence of statistically significant relationships between teacher/student relationships, content relevance, and teacher planning, monitoring and adjustments to practice has an influence on engagement.

Without question, one of the keystones to academic achievement is active learning.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. Below are some 21st Century learning tools that can increase engagement:


Screencast-o-matic is a powerful screen recorder that allows users to capture anything happening on their screen, as well as voice and video from the webcam for up to 15 minutes in the recorder’s free version. Regarding its pedagogical use, students can record their own videos describing how they solved a particular problem step-by-step (e.g. a trigonometry problem) or explaining their thinking process about the structure of an essay.

Schoology (https://www.schoology.com/)

This is a cloud-based platform, which provides tools for managing a classroom in a blended environment with a user-friendly, collaborative interface and a selection of mobile apps to complement the learning process.

You can create assignments, tests, quizzes, and events, as well as benefit from an online grade-book and attendance list. The tool is also great for collaboration – you can send messages, make announcements, create discussions on selected topics, and setup group workspaces.

TopHat (https://tophat.com/)

This is an interactive, cloud-based tool that helps professors increase classroom engagement and create an interactive learning environment while gaining real-time feedback on their students’ understanding. Instructors can prepare lecture slides and enrich them with some really interesting and interactive features, from launching questions to receiving real-time student feedback. The platform offers an easy interface for managing a classroom – you can quickly take attendance, automate your grading process, and poll students, all in one place.

This kind of interactive approach can be used in many contexts. Top Hat works for just about every subject. The functionalities of Top Hat allow you to break your routine of being behind the podium and teach a class right from the app from anywhere in the classroom.

Write About

One key to improving student writing is to have students write more often. But paperwork is hard to manage, you are limited in how much feedback you can provide, and students often have trouble thinking of ideas. Write About solves these problems, providing students with an online space to write on high-interest topics and get feedback from their peers.


With live streaming, a camera records something—a conversation, a demonstration, a performance, a meeting—and that event is broadcast live online, in real time. Until recently, if a school or teacher wanted to live stream something, the process required expensive equipment or subscriptions. But now live streaming is available free to anyone with a smartphone.

As the current front-runner in live-streaming apps, Periscope has gotten a lot of attention this past year. Like Meerkat, its primary competitor, Periscope allows users to broadcast live from their smartphones or tablets, take written comments from viewers, and share broadcasts on Twitter.


PosterMyWall is a fantastic tool for creating artistic, high-quality posters, collages, photo calendars and/or photo cards that can either be shared online or printed out and inexpensively shipped home. PosterMyWall for teaching purposes is to have students create posters as the culmination of a project to demonstrate what they have learned. Another interesting idea would be creating a poster as a means of introducing the students to a specific topic in an innovative way that stimulates discussion.

Tools researched on ISTE website and research on site.


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