21st Century Engagement Tools

Students today have advertisers, social media, friends, parents, and other teachers, all bidding for their attention. As a teacher, if you can keep them focused for an entire class period, you are doing very well! Keeping students engaged is not a 21st century problem, but it can be addressed with 21st century tools. Incorporate just one of the tools below and your students will have trouble ignoring your class.


Pinterest is an online tool used to collect, organize, and tag information. Think of it as an online photo album with notations and links. This tool can be used to organize and display any number of webpages on any number of subjects. You simply need to pick a topic, create a board, and begin adding links and documents. Currently, there are hundreds of education-related boards by other "pinners" dedicated to everything from educational technology to adjunct lesson plans. Pinterest is ideal for presenting and sharing information with students. Instead of sending students to a list on your school’s website, why not send them a visually appealing collection of ideas and resources.


Jing is a free screen recording software. It allows you to create short, 5-minute presentations that include a recording of your screen, the movements of the mouse, and audio. Once you are done recording, you can easily share the link with the student. You can use Jing to record your review of student assignment. Providing audio and visual feedback can help students better understand your message.


TED Ed allows you to couple TED presenters' engaging lectures with your own thought provoking summaries, multiple choice quizzes, short answer questions, and other resources. These compilations are called lessons. TED Ed has hundreds of videos to pick from on topics ranging from the purpose of museums to the value of a dog’s nose. If you do not have time to create your own lesson, do not worry. Other instructors have created engaging lessons that you can use or customize. This tool is also free.

Gaining and holding your students' attention is not easy, but these online tools can help keep your class engaged and focused. Use each tool in accordance with your school’s technology standards and keep the age and skill level of the student in mind.

Photo from Morgue File.


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