How Do Teachers Keep Students Engaged on Zoom?

By: Jalen Poole

Durham Public Schools decided online school would be the safest route for students and staff and kept everyone home this fall.

And that was a great decision but i would think for some students,

The transition to digital learning has not been easy. Teachers are struggling to keep all students on task and focused. It’s already hard  to keep kids focused on school grounds. But now they have to do it through a camera. And in school there are consequences for not listening, but at home so there is only so much teachers can do. 

Some teachers use activities to keep students engaged and focused.

“I use breakout rooms to meet with students individually and for them to work together in groups,” math teacher Julie-Lynn Borquin said. “I play games with them and when I call on a student to answer a question, if they don’t know the answer I have them ‘phone a friend’ and call on someone else.” 

But some teachers say that it’s hard because they can’t have a one on one connection with students like they could in person.

Bourquin said it is easier to keep students engaged in person, but making activities fun online seems to help. 

Some students said it’s easy to get off task, but having a specific goal makes it easier to stay focused, especially since they can’t always get the feedback from teachers like they are used to.

Freshman Samantha Sutton said she answers a warm up question and talks to other students in her theater class every day, but it’s hard to act and produce plays through Zoom. 

 “Yeah it gets really hard sometimes to stay focused,” she said., “I’ve learned about some Greek theatre stuff, which was what I was interested in anyway, but the actual theatre part we haven’t even gotten into.” 

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