19 Jul 2021

Enhancing Learner Engagement & Interaction in the Post-COVID Classroom | #ISTELive 2021


For more than forty years, the ISTE conference has been recognized as one of the world’s most influential education events. It’s where educators and education leaders gather to engage in hands-on learning, share best practices and hear from the brightest minds from the world of education and beyond. The annual event attracts over 16,000 attendees and industry representatives.

Educator Sarah McCarthy from the McCarthy Math Academy, discusses the core problems faced by teachers and how to enhance students’ engagement and interaction when returning to in-class lessons at school.

CHALLENGE 1: Inequitable Learning Experience.
Learn the remedies for challenges faced by both teachers and students during the past 18 months because of an inequitable learning experience and its effect on the pace of the lesson for in-class and remote learners.


  1. By being intentional and employing activities to engage both sets of learners,  and by making sure each learner feels a part of the environment — allowing open dialogue and presentation between the sets of students, you can take your teaching to the next level.
  2. Discover how combining an OKIOCAM document camera with the Flipgrid platform can increase confidence and engagement from students by intentionally giving tasks that encourage participation.

CHALLENGE 2: Difficulties in Facilitating Collaboration
We are all aware of the challenges faced for students to collaborate together when they are in two separate learning environments.


In this section we will look at the PeerPals System and Collaborative Art Activities that facilitate collaboration.

  1. The PeerPals System pairs up students from each learning scenario together, one from in-class and one from remote, and they are given a task to complete. In this example we use a science project, with the student in-class conducting the experiment and the student in the remote setting recording and compiling all of the data. This is an excellent technique to give students the opportunity to fully engage with each other and allows them to be accountable for their own responsibilities.
  2. Collaborative art activities allow students from any location to create cool stop motion videos using the OKIOCAM document camera and free-to-download software. The animation projects can be collaborated on by both sets of students, and the videos viewed by everyone, giving the opportunity to offer feedback.

CHALLENGE 3: Problems in Student Assessment
How do we authentically and fairly assess distance learners? This is one of the problems faced with remote learning.


  1. By ‘facilitating scaffolding’ we can create an environment where all students can communicate what kind of support they need and even encourage after-class support to ensure comprehension.
  2. We can assist all types of students by providing a safe zone for students to speak confidently and ask for help when needed. Creating a song for everyone to sing before classes to empower them to speak up when unsure of something is a great way to build that confidence.
  3. Offer breakout areas or an open door policy (before classes) for students to be able to confront you or their peers to ask questions that they are unsure of.