What drives student engagement? What teaching practices and tools give teachers the best resources to not only reach students, but drive their learning even when they’re not in the classroom?
Lightspeed Systems® brought together a panel of experts to discuss top trends that educators and administrators will continue to see, including how best to increase student engagement and efficacy.
The current state of student engagement in K-12
Seeing students engaged and motivated is, for many teachers, a highlight of the job. But student engagement took a direct hit during the pandemic. At home, away from teachers and classmates, it was easy for students to “check out.” And transitioning back into full engagement in the classroom is proving to be an ongoing process.
In addition, Steven Langford, CIO at Beaverton School District in Oregon, pointed out that students don’t just use their personal devices for games and social networking at all hours of the day—they also use them to learn.
That can create additional opportunities for engagement, but it also creates issues of equity for students and schools that don’t have access to the same online resources or devices as wealthier schools. Langford noted that when discussing improving efficacy and engagement, you can’t leave equity out of the conversation.
How to increase K-12 student engagement and efficacy
Social-emotional learning, or SEL, has emerged as a critical component of successful learning and engagement for all students.
Mike Baur found that to be true in his work as a K-12 Edtech Strategist at Amazon Web Services, where he works with edtech companies like Lightspeed Systems to help them partner more effectively with schools. Many educators and administrators have found themselves in crisis mode, trying to reach and help students who are obviously in need. But to be most effective, that work must start earlier and be part of an ongoing process.
“We cannot lose sight of those preventative aspects—SEL curriculum, teaching kids coping strategies, and really helping them be complete, whole individuals,” said Amy Grosso, Director of Behavioral Health Services for Round Rock ISD, outside of Austin, Texas. “Academic success,” she said, “depends upon it.”
Many districts turned to classroom management software during the pandemic, with some schools finding tools like this helped empower their teachers to improve student engagement during the height of the pandemic and beyond.
Langford noted that at Beaverton School District, student efficacy had increased when students came back to the classroom after remote learning. He credited Lightspeed Classroom Management™ as one of the strategies that helped in that. Langford shared that after the return to in-person schooling, teachers wanted to continue using Lightspeed Classroom Management because of the positive student engagement they’d seen. When technology like Lightspeed Classroom Management is incorporated as part of a teacher’s toolkit, it becomes a valuable asset to engage students and keep them on task.
As you plan for the next school year, these tips can help your ongoing work to engage students and increase classroom efficacy. For more on the conversation about student engagement, watch our on-demand webinar: 3 Things Districts Will Continue to See Next Year.