No matter what the subject, before students can learn new skills or absorb new material, they need to be paying attention. Here, three educators share the tech tools and best practices they use to improve student engagement and make sure students are energized, focused, and ready to learn.

Some of these tools and strategies are commonly used to boost student engagement in younger grades, but sometimes, higher-ed classrooms can benefit from a dose of simplicity as a way to break the ice and help students relax.

Three ways to focus on student engagement

1. Catherine Castillo: Guided math talks

We use Daily Math Fluency by hand2mind to help educators guide math talks with students. It provides educators with a framework for being intentional about using math talks and number strings in their classrooms.

Related content: What does student engagement look like?

Since we’ve incorporated it, students are more comfortable exploring the multiple ways a math problem can be solved—and openly sharing their strategies and solutions. They’re developing strong number sense by connecting mathematical concepts and exploring relationships by using visual models such as dot patterns, ten-frames, and open arrays.

About the Author:

Catherine Castillo is the coordinator of 21st-century numeracy at Springfield Public Schools. Follow her on Twitter: @MsCastillosMath.

Dr. Gene Kerns is the Chief Academic Officer at Renaissance. He is a third-generation educator and has served as a public-school teacher, adjunct faculty member, professional development trainer, district supervisor of academic services, and academic advisor at one of the nation’s top edtech companies. He has trained and consulted internationally and is the author of two books. Follow him on Twitter: @GeneKerns.

Victoria Mendoza is a kindergarten teacher in Georgia. Follow her on Twitter: @learninginrm509.