Your Device Rollout Isn’t About Hardware—It’s About Engagement

Student Engagement

Your Device Rollout Isn’t About Hardware—It’s About Engagement

from Classcraft

By Devin Young     Apr 9, 2019

Your Device Rollout Isn’t About Hardware—It’s About Engagement

For anyone involved in education, the importance of engagement is clear. And the need for both student engagement and buy-in cannot be overstated when it comes to device rollout.

Throughout each school year, educators attend tech conferences to evaluate the tools that they hope to implement in the coming fall, but many still struggle to achieve student readiness when it comes to fundamental initiatives like one-to-one devices. This relates to everything from how students physically interact with their devices to how well they handle challenges that come their way—avoiding distractions, navigating information online and responding to discussions online, to name just a few.

New research coming out of the University of Roehampton in London shows that there’s critical work to be done to support administrators in attaining deeper student engagement with devices, which is essential in driving meaningful outcomes with subsequent new initiatives.

If students don’t care about using their devices, and don’t use them on a regular basis, research shows that getting them to do so may actually become distracting and slow down the learning process. A clear strategy is a must to drive student engagement effectively around a rollout to generate buy-in. Without one, schools and districts run the risk of missing out on many of the potential benefits that having devices in the classroom can unlock, such as introducing personalized learning, teaching digital citizenship and giving students access to the myriad of apps and tools available online.

Engagement in the classroom matters.

Findings from Victoria University of Wellington indicate that students’ attitudes toward their devices are influenced more by their peers than policy, teachers or parents. When educators consider collaborative approaches, device usage becomes a more social, relevant and fun experience for students—making them much more likely to explore what their devices can do and invest energy in using them to their full potential.

In this University of Roehampton London study, one school saw dramatic improvements by incorporating Classcraft’s collaborative game and personalized learning tools into their one-to-one and Google Classroom implementation. The school reported a 117 percent increase in effective student participation around tasks requiring device use, a 132 percent increase in student preparedness to begin learning activities and an 89 percent improvement in positive digital citizenship.

Good classroom management is another essential component of a device rollout. The more aligned students are with teachers, and the more aligned students are with one another, the more effective any implementation will be. Research shows that the cornerstone of good classroom management is the quality of teacher-student relationships. Positive relationships between teachers and students are a healthy—and typical—byproduct of a classroom with high levels of student engagement.

Why gamifying your rollout may be the key.

Gamification is the idea of adding game-like elements to non-game contexts or environments—the classroom, for example. This process doesn’t have to be hard—and it can be employed thoughtfully. When done right, it empowers students to take control of their own learning process. Games like Fortnite are compelling because they provide powerful tools to fulfill basic human needs, such as autonomy (making choices), competency (overcoming challenges) and relationships (collaboration and teamwork). Addressing these needs in a meaningful way in the classroom allows teachers to benefit from these same mechanics in an educational setting.

Gamification can also help educators foster the type of student-teacher relationships that set the table for good classroom management. It maximizes classroom structure, predictability and expectations while engaging students in the type of activity that they love. Tools like Classcraft empower educators to leverage sound classroom management techniques like making the class rules explicitly clear and using fun, interactive tools like Boss Battles to create genuine moments with students that develop trust. That trust creates deeper engagement in the classroom upon which educators can build subsequent initiatives.

Focus on the students.

Educators must meet students where they are—intellectually, emotionally and culturally. To miss this opportunity to engage with students fully in the classroom is a disservice to their learning trajectory. Student engagement must be placed at the core of any rollout, be it a one-to-one device implementation or an SEL initiative. It is just as important that students engage with their devices as with the classroom experience itself. The University of Roehampton London’s study exemplifies this and shows that leveraging motivating gaming principles can be very effective at driving important, measurable gains around educational outcomes.

If you’d like to read more about the research regarding effective one-to-one device rollouts, download our free case study on improving device implementation. You’ll learn how to help students care for and about their devices, how data shows that Classcraft can improve engagement and critical 21st-century skills and how you can accelerate your students’ learning and growth. You’ll also receive a free student readiness checklist to help you assess your needs and map out a plan for a meaningful rollout.

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