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Student Engagement

Last updated September 14, 2016

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 it's 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. 


Gamefication is a pedagogy not a single tool.  To gamefy 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 gamefy a course.


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.


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. 

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 (Formerly EduCannon) 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.


Skitch is an app that makes annotating onto an image (or other file type such as a PDF or webpage). These can then be saved 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.


TitanPad is a collaborative writing tool that tracks individual writing contributions and make a real-time recording of the work. Includes a chat window and color coding of author contributions.


VoiceThread is an alternative to 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.