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Distance Learning

Keeping students engaged through a screen

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Mairyn Vega Mairyn Vega 540 Points

Hi everyone, 

I am an education major at UTRGV, and I was a senior during covid when we all have to go electronic. For me, it was very hard to stay engaged, I would find myself sleeping during every class, but especially science since we would only read off the text book during class. Although I am sure the teacher was doing the best they could with the resources they had, I believe there is a better way to keep students engages, what could I do as a future teacher to make the distance feel not so big and keep them engaged as if we were in a real classroom.

thank you,


Gregory MacDougall Gregory MacDougall 870 Points

I would argue that the issue you are describing cuts across virtual and in-person classes. Consider thinking about reversing roles so that the students are doing more work than the teacher - a student-centered classroom where you are employing active learning strategies daily. I have seen students actively involved in classrooms as teachers employ strategies in Science Formative Assessment: 75 Practical Strategies for Linking Assessment, Instruction, and Learning. Once you understand the concept of a student-centered classroom and active learning strategies, it doesn't matter whether you are in person or virtual.

Attached is one article that you might like. 

Good Luck Learning!


Raechel Waddy Raechel Waddy 965 Points

I definitely agree that the student-centered approach is the best way to engage students whether they are in-person or virtual. The greatest barriers to this approach are teacher training, preparation time, and student orientation. As someone who has used the flipped classroom as a standard practice for years in one school district, I was astounded to find that the method was nearly impossible to implement when I moved to a new district. Both students and parents were hesitant to buy into the concept and thus I had to abandon it before I started. Now, I use a modified version of what I once used. In the end, I had to listen to all stakeholders in order to find the model that worked best for everyone.

Gregory MacDougall Gregory MacDougall 870 Points

Also, you might want to look into the 5E instructional model as well as cooperative learning. 

Gregory MacDougall Gregory MacDougall 870 Points

Thank you for that story. It is sad but true. But as you mentioned, you can always find different approaches. There are many success stories that also come from a range of approaches.

Gregory MacDougall Gregory MacDougall 870 Points

See also a Professional Learning Unit (PLU here at NSTA called Digital Collaborative Spaces for Sensemaking. 

Martha Perez Martha Perez 265 Points

I agree with the comments about a student-centered approach to teaching regardless of distance learning or one-to-one classes; the more a student is applying knowledge in solving a situation presented he/she will have less opportunities for distraction. Technology integration has worked well for me too, using electronic devices that they enjoy usually help to student motivation. The Flipped classroom is also a good choice, though it is important to have a well-designed in class activity (or several) so the students understand the importance of revising material at home, before coming to class (or connecting to an online class). 

Part of my activities are to design and implement teacher development courses, STEAM is one of the methodologies I use the most and it has been a success since I taught in High Scholl and University years ago. I'd be glad to provide some more insight if you need. 

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