The major takeaways that I found were that interactive, student-to-teacher interactions involving continuous back-and-forth questions and answers, cold calls, and personal stories were very successful in getting students to be most actively engaged. Personal stories and videos tend to have an emotional appeal that may connect very well with the student’s personal or academic lives, causing them to be more attentive, willing to listen, and perhaps share stories and be eagerly involved. In addition, activities that were varied and relatively short (don’t take up most of the class time) allowed for many transitions so that students did not get bored, start dozing off, or hold unrelated conversations with their peers. This method allowed the teacher to constantly ask for attention in a relatively quick manner and move on to the next activity. From the data I collected, the class that had fewer activities generally included students that did not focus or stay on task as well and were less eager to participate in the activity. When activities were always changing, students were more eager for the next activity and were more willing and excited to take part.
Another conclusion that I came to was that technology in the classroom was not always successful in getting students to be engaged. As observed in the biology classroom, which utilized Google ChromeBooks for the class lecture, homework, and individual work, a couple of students were always constantly disengaged or disruptive, using their digital devices to look up unrelated topics. While the majority of the class was on task, generally, the students as a whole were not energetic, passionate, or eager, which was a major difference I noticed with the english class. Since the technology was used during individual tasks in a group setting, many students were talking with their peers, or silently doing their work. This difference between students doing what they were supposed to and students that were passionate to learn was clear between the two classes. While technology may be a useful tool in the classroom, using an electronic device for the majority or entirety of the class was not very successful in getting passionate, eager learners, but quiet and uninterested students to be on task, as observed.