Engagement Doesn’t Often Mean Effectiveness

I just read this article by Steven Anderson about how we often confuse engagement using technology with effectiveness. That is often the case when using, for instance, Kahoot in class. It is fun it is engaging, but how much did the students learn. If we focus on the outcome when we plan our classes, we get a different story altogether. We should not throw the baby out with the bathwater, as the saying goes. These past weeks I have had the pleasure of doing walk-throughs in many different classes ranging from PE, biology, psychology, and economics, to mention some. It is when the teacher makes time for reflection, discussions, and collaboration, it seems like the most learning is taking place, in my opinion.

Like Steven says;

In order for a lesson that utilizes technology to be effective, meaning that students actually learned and retained knowledge, then technology has to fade to the background and just be the tools that are used for students to collaborate, or share their work with a global audience or create new knowledge or new products.

He goes on to mention the three most effective tools for learning from Hattie;

  1. Classroom Discussion (Effect Size-0.82)
  2. Feedback (Effect Size-0.73)
  3. Providing Formative Assessment (Effect Size-0.68)

I agree with this and would like to highlight all three. My students often ask for more classroom discussions and the trick is to engage the whole class. Too often only one third are active. You could start off with your students doing research and sharing thoughts, first on a Padlet, for instance. Let the student start off in smaller groups where they all get a chance to air their opinions. We recently did a radio show in groups of 4, and the students send the recording to me. I enjoy watching them discuss topics they have spent time researching first. It seems like a good way for them to show what they have learned about the different competency goals in our subject.  I would also like to mention Peergrade, the free online program I mentioned before. I have used it several times and I really see the value in introducing this to our students. The more the evaluate other students work, the more they are able to evaluate their own learning.

I would love to hear from you