Public Relations Today
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Justin Chando By Justin Chando • October 10, 2013

Why Student Engagement is So Important

 

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Student engagement is generally considered to be among the better predictors of learning and personal development. The more students think about their course material, the more they practice and study (directly or indirectly), the more they tend to learn about it. Our contribution to that stems back to the best ways of learning.

The very act of being engaged also adds to the foundation of skills and dispositions that is essential to live a productive and satisfying life. Amy L. Reschly and Sandra Christenson said it best in their research: engagement not only drives learning but also predicts school success.

 

A more engaged student = better learning outcomes.

But even more than that, we’re pushing to create more life-long learners in the world. Learning and the act of increasing your own personal knowledge base can be so amazing. We need students everywhere to be really excited about learning and almost be addicted to learning more each and every day.

 

Old Learning Management Systems are on their way out.

These old, clunky - what they call “Learning Management Systems” - are what I consider one of the biggest opportunities to engage our students today.  I have the audacity to question the very reason why an educator or IT Professional actually gives students this type of application in the first place.

What are they even there for? To me, these current systems we’re using in our schools are one of the main reasons students today are unengaged from their classes. But more than that, we have the capability to provide something that is really going to change the way we interact in our classes. New enterprise level business applications are so much farther ahead of where we are in education today. Maybe it takes someone to reimagine the entire reasoning for having a LMS in the first place.

 

What are we doing now that is disengaging our students?

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The classic learning management systems that everyone knows about are what I consider one of the main reasons students today are unengaged from their courses. It turns out that many of our competitors still are using this unidirectional approach.  You as the teacher post something… and you have your students do it, and that’s it, the conversation ends. Sorry about it. Your student can’t get help from you or any of her classmates, and you in return don’t have any feedback from your class about how that assignment was.  This is where the student disengagement happens. There is this gap that we’re realizing, and I’ve been thinking about this better world for years now.

We have the opportunity now to really change the way we interact with our classes both inside and outside of the classroom.

 

 Learning can be taking place all-day long!

I just had a great talk with a professor a few days ago, and he told me that he wanted his students to not be able to tell the difference from when they were in the physical classroom and when they weren’t. I think this is such an incredible thing to hear. What if this was the case? We built a platform that makes it really easy for students and teachers to collaborate, share, and stay connected with their class. But we are really just getting started and are looking to move really fast in this forward thinking direction. Because let’s face it, there’s no way we can expect all the learning to happen in the 50 minute lecture. In fact, it’s so difficult to learn much of anything inside a lecture setting, in K-12 or Higher Ed.

 

What does this mean for you as a teacher?

You have the opportunity to create a different atmosphere in your class, one that doesn’t rely on you, the teacher doing all the “heavy lifting”. You can now leverage technology to let your students become more engaged with the class you’re teaching. One of the biggest changes we want to make in the learning experience is to get students talking about their classes and thinking about the material more while working together and learning through experiences. Great things can happen for everyone.

 

It starts with simplifying the approach.

One of the biggest differences between us, if you were to classify Chalkup as a Learning Management System, is the fact that we want to simplify everything, and make things so much easier for teachers and students - the people we’re supposed to be solving for. There is no reason for an overly complicated, bloated system that requires 40 hours of training before you can use it. It’s for the sake of education, it’s for all of our futures. At Chalkup, we’re taking on a really big problem, and going about it in the best way we can, but in my opinion it all starts with simplification.

 

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