Teachers get creative to keep students engaged during online learning

COLORADO SPRINGS — During this time of online learning, local school districts are raising concerns over student engagement. Some say students are disappearing during class time, not turning in assignments, and have a lack of participation.

“We’re seeing some students not log into their class, maybe not turning in their assignment, forgetting their assignment or they weren’t aware of it,” said Dr. Wendy Birhanzel, superintendent of Harrison School District 2.

Birhanzel says it’s been a struggle to keep their online learners engaged in the classroom. She says it’s important for students to stay engaged to prevent learning gaps and foster growth.

“As research will tell us, their academic achievement will increase, their self-esteem will increase, the likelihood of going to college and getting a job after high school will increase,” said Birhanzel.

Parents should monitor their children online to make sure they’re paying attention and participating in class.

“Children are pretty savvy and sometimes parents think they’re online but they’re playing a game or doing something other than their assignment,” said Birhanzel.

Angelica Marquez with Falcon School District 49 says they’ve also been having problems with student engagement.

“Kids are being left by themselves at home or left in front of the computer by themselves while mom or dad is trying to multitask,” said Marquez.

She recommends parents set expectations for themselves and children.

“Parents go off of expectations for teachers, but I think since they’re being held responsible for what’s going on at home, there needs to be an expectation coming from their point of view as well,” said Marquez.

Both school districts are coming up with creative ways to keep their students engaged.

“We have teachers checking in on them, we are starting some peer groups where they can meet together and socialize,” said Marquez.

Students who continue to struggle with staying engaged should talk with their district to see if in-person learning would be a better fit.

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