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Student Engagement

Last updated November 05, 2020

Augmented/Virtual Reality

Augmented and virtual reality tools give students a more immersive experience in some content.  VR tools such as Google Cardboard, YouTube 360, and the NYTimes VR offer 360 visual experiences.  Some require a VR headset some do not.  Bubbli is a free program where students can create these types of 360 images. Putting QR codes onto paper assignments or readings can offer students an easy way to access other information related to the main content by scanning the code with their phone or tablet.  QR codes can make getting to this additional content a bit easier and faster than copying a URL into a browser. In addition to web resources, QR codes can link to images, audio, additional text, and other information sources.


EdPuzzle is a program that can be used to embed questions within videos.  If users create a class within EdPuzzle and have students join then student usage can also be tracked including their scores on the questions and how much of the video was actually viewed.

Explain Everything

Explain Everything is at its root an interactive whiteboard app, but it can do so much more.  It can be a useful medium for building tutorial videos for distance learning or flipped classes. It can be a tool for students to record their own progress working through a math problem. It can be a means of recording live whiteboard writing/drawing for later viewing.  Explain Everything is best used on an iPad, but there are also Windows versions that might allow for content building on a laptop with touch screen capabilities. 


A free (paid versions give a few more options) application that allows students to engage in learning through short videos.  Instructors create topics for students to respond to through video.  Students respond back and all are shared with one another.  Can be used both within a browser or on a mobile device.


Gamification is a pedagogy not a single tool.  To gamify a course means to include elements from video games that are so reinforcing for gamers into one's course.  These elements can include things such as leveling up, unlocking new opportunities, increasing challenge, immediate feedback, etc.  It can include using games in the classroom, but it is not necessary to use an actual game to gamify a course.


GooseChase is a tool for creating a virtual scavenger hunt.  You provide the challenges and students take pictures, send text-based answers, or go to a GPS location and send their responses to you.


Kahoot is a form of student response system (clicker) that students can use with any device.  Kahoot offers different types of response games (questions, discussion starters, polls) as well as the ability to easily incorporate video and images.

Mind Mapping

Creating mind-maps requires students to engage in deeper thinking on the concepts that they are studying.  Mind maps help students to explore and identify connections and distinctions between concepts and idea.  There are several mind mapping tools available.  Two that you might explore are Mindmeister and Popplet.


Nearpod is a lesson builder for creating interactive lessons.  It has its highest potential in classrooms where students have tablets, Nearpod can be viewed and interacted in all platforms and devices.  Lessons can be delivered 'live' or as self-paced homework.  Lessons consist of a number of slides.  Slides can have text, video, or PowerPoint slides imported.  Interactive slides can have multiple choice questions, quizzes, drawing, or open-ended text.  Features include the ability for teachers to share student responses anonymously to show common misunderstandings or ideal responses. 


A presentation program that can deliver content and provide a number of different student activities. Students use an internet-connected device to respond. The teacher can display the student responses. The website provides examples of presentations for ideas. The free version has limited features (no drawing or draggable slides).

Poll Everywhere

Poll Everywhere is a student response system (clicker) that students can use with any device.  Polls can be embedded into PowerPoint slides and with a pro version, instructors can record student scores from the questions. Poll Everywhere offers several different types of questions including open-ended questions.


Padlet is an electronic bulletin board tool that allows users to post text, images, etc. Electronic bulletin boards can be used to help organize major project materials, brainstorm ideas, or to share information in a different form.


PlayPosit is a program that can be used to embed questions within videos. 


Plickers are a student response system that does not require students to use an electronic device.  Students are given paper cards with QR-type codes to indicate their responses.  The instructor then scans the room with a smartphone and receives the student responses.  Responses are limited to multiple-choice A, B, C D.


Pearltrees is a form of social bookmarking which allows users to save and share bookmarked webpages, images, or files. Can be used as a collaboration tool or way to find resources from other Pearltree users.  Basically another version of Pinterest.


Powtoon is a way to create simple cartoon animations. These animations can become an alternative way to present information.  Could be used by instructors or students to create material to present.


Allows you to create or use a variety of pre-made quizzes for your students. Provides real-time results as the students are taking the quiz. This also provides reports that can be emailed to the user at any time. Good for any age because you can create quizzes to fit your students' needs.


This could be used at any level. Flashcards and interactive game activities to help learn vocabulary words and definitions. These can be created with pictures and shared with others.


Socrative is a form of student response system that students can use with any device.  There are different types of responses (exit tickets, quizzes, group competitions etc.) that can be built.  Instructors get real-time results from the class.


VoiceThread is an alternative to the traditional text-based discussion.  VoiceThread is a media-based discussion platform where users can post images or video. From this media, users can post comments or replies in text, audio, or video format.  Free license limits users to 5 VoiceThreads and there is no moderation or threaded commenting features available.  Pro-versions provide these options.