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Teachers Try Their Best To Keep Students Engaged During Online Learning


By: Jake Dolan

          As students are about to go into their third semester of online learning, some are left feeling unmotivated and unfocused in class. What are teachers doing to keep students engaged and motivated during these tough times?
          It is common for teachers to struggle with keeping their students engaged in class. AP Economics teacher Christopher McTamany saids it may be because students aren’t required to show themselves on camera. “As well, it is difficult to stay focused at home with many distractions and nothing but the teacher to try to keep you engaged,” McTamany said.
          Physics teacher Suzanne Smedburg agrees that teachers are struggling to keep students engaged and motivated, but said these are complicated days and sometimes focusing may feel impossible. “As long as we all keep doing the best we can, that's good enough,” Smedburg said.
          One common way teachers are keeping students engaged and motivated in learning is by using various online resources. McTamany’s go to’s are Nearpod, Jamboard, Youtube for short educational videos, and Edpuzzle. Following close in his footsteps is Smedburg who uses Kami, Kahoot, AP classroom and several other resources. “The internet is full of fantastic resources made by top quality educators - we are blessed to have access to these high quality, brilliant materials, and I find new cool things all the time that I can't wait to try,” Smedburg said.
          Junior Julia Frangenberg feels teachers are doing a great job keeping students engaged given the current circumstances, but also feels there could be some improvements to increase the motivation of students. “I think it would be great if there was more time in class to do assignments so we don’t have as much homework. Since we are at home the whole day it can be hard to separate our academic lives from leisure time, which makes us less motivated to do homework in the evening,” Frangenberg said.
          Junior Anna Darby also has suggestions to improve the engagement and motivation of students in the classroom. Darby said that having more individual work time in class instead of breakout rooms could improve student engagement, but does note that online learning is different for everyone and this may not be effective for some students.
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