In our world of limitless technology, it seems that the average teacher is fighting for the attentions of individuals who have the world and more at their fingertips. Whether that is through their phones, computer access, or various other sources of technology that allows a student’s mind to wander, the teacher is no longer just an instructor of information. Teacher’s are filters and need to be prepared to work very hard for engagement in their classrooms. Being able to control and filter what is being received is a large part of this process; teachers, professors, and school planners are noticing that the physical classroom is a key component in keeping the attentions of their students.
There are numerous studies online that explain the keys to engagement in the classroom; The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) is a university based research group dedicated to understanding how students are being engaged in a classroom setting and, more specifically, the aspects in college life that encourage engagement and, ultimately, retention. These areas include campus programs and units, environments, groups students might be involved in, and many more. Their findings indicate that the more a student participates in class, the more successful their college careers will be.
Engagement is more than just entertaining a group of students, it is about promoting engaging material to help students succeed beyond the walls of a school or institution. In an article by Deb Moore, titled “Form Follows Engagement”, Moore states that technology in the classroom supports long-lasting skills that students can use outside of school. She also states that, “Engagement is fostered in many ways. It is about building connections — students to teachers, students to students, students to community. The use of technology and its integration into educational spaces encourages connection. On a personal level, technology improves communication — student to student and student to teacher. The integration of technology into the classroom also facilitates teamwork and group interaction.” Moore is stating that we need not take the technology out of the classroom, it is doing a world of good for the students; rather, she is stating that managing the technology is key.
NOVA has a physical solution to managing the technology in a classroom, allowing a teacher to govern the moments when computers are able to be used and when it is time to work in other areas of study that do not require the use of said technology. NOVA’s Trolley E-Class allows for computers to be stowed away while not in use or when not needed. With the use of NOVAlinked, a system that links all of the trolleys together so that a single button can bring up or collapse all of the linked computers, the trolley’s can be a teacher’s answer to limiting distractions and promoting engagement. Take a look at this video to see an example of what exactly NOVA’s trolley and NOVALinked system looks like.
Fighting for engagement is not a losing battle; it is just a matter of being able to use technology in the classroom to benefit learning, and not to promote distractions.