Techniques to keep students engaged
Technologies offer many different ways to integrate features that help motivate students. Take advantage of existing interactive online tools. In this section, you will find different techniques to use in an online class to maintain and increase student engagement.
Involving your students in the sessions will keep them attentive. For example, invite students to post questions in the chat space, use the raised hand option if available, use emojis for participation (at predetermined times).
Recording parts of an online lesson or creating videos can help students watch it at their own pace and review content they didn’t fully understand. You can explain a concept in a video for students to watch at any time and as many times as needed, create a tutorial for students, give feedback on students’ work, or explain a task.
In videoconference tools (TEAMS, Meet, Zoom, VIA, etc.), you have the option to record your online session. The video can then be shared with students.
You can also create your own videos by recording your screen (a webpage, a presentation, instructions, etc.) using screencasting tools such as Loom, Quick Time pro and Screencastify.
Another option is to create short video clips with images and narration in Adobe Spark Video.
Teaching online doesn’t mean that the teacher should always be the person talking. Design your activities to include moments where students discuss and collaborate with others online: brainstorm, take notes, complete a collaborative task, create a presentation, write in collaboration, etc. Online tools available through Office 365 or Google for Education offer collaborative options. Other tools can also be used: Padlet, Google Jamboard, Google Slides/PowerPoint, Google Docs/Word Online, chat, etc.
Create groups and moments where students can meet online to work or to interact orally. You want to know how to develop C1 online and create your discussion groups? Watch the Service national du RÉCIT domaine des langues webinar C1 Online: It’s Possible! Open in a new window
Working with technology gives us the opportunity to use easy and engaging online tools like PosterMyWall, Book Creator, Adobe Spark Video. Consult the Service National du RÉCIT domaine des langues Web Tools webpage Download PDF document to choose from a variety of online tools. Ask students to use their creativity:
- To show their understanding in a creative way
- To present final products
- To create videos, books and posters
Depending on your teaching goal, you can let your students choose the online tool they will use as long as they follow your instructions and work to meet your expectations.
You can also learn how to incorporate technology in your planning by taking the “Planning an ESL online course” on Campus RÉCIT Open in a new window.
Include times where students will have fun playing games while learning English. Some games are easy to include in an online session: I Spy, Bingo, Hangman, Jeopardy, Scattergories, Guess Who?, Memory, etc.
In ESL, it is important to use a lot of visuals so that students get the support needed for understanding. Some tools such as Quizlet make it possible to create or easily find sets of flashcards that can be used to:
- help students build knowledge on topics covered in class
- study vocabulary in various ways (audio, written, scatter, etc.)
- provide audio and visual support
It also has a great feature called Quizlet Live, with which you can play association games during a synchronous session.
Sometimes it’s not easy for a language learner to understand the message behind a video. Teachers often pause videos to ask questions. Why not incorporate tools such as Edpuzzle or PlayPosit? They let you edit the video and integrate questions directly. They also enable you to collect data about your students’ understanding. Here are some ideas on how to use them in class:
- Present short video content, have students participate, and answer questions live (using chat or orally)
- Share at home, collect data to review material that students don’t understand
- Check for understanding
- Activate prior knowledge
- Use as a discussion starter
Integrating online quizzes and surveys with tools like Forms, Mentimeter, Kahoot, Quizziz or Edpuzzle can help you check understanding and gauge in-class learning. They can also be used to spark discussions. Most of these online tools offer ways to give instant feedback to your students or offer corrective measures. Exploring a variety of these tools is time well invested.
To learn the tools mentioned in this module, please consult the Toolbox section (Boîte à outils) of the website.
Some of these activities could work in both synchronous and asynchronous mode. It all depends on how they are planned and the needs of the students. Here are some suggestions of types of activity that can be done in these modes (this is not an exhaustive list):