The generation of students currently in school grew up in a hyperconnected environment. According to neuroscientist David Eagleman, they are “digital natives.” Most have 24/7 access to the internet via computers, smart televisions, and mobile devices. They can interact with information in ways that were impossible years ago, when textbooks were the primary source of content in schools. Eagleman believes that this technology has changed how the human brain processes information and how children learn. “We are in a rapidly changing moment in time because of digital natives. Educators have to understand that with this next generation, they are used to [a fast] pace and interactive learning.”
Educators recognize this and for a long time, have known that younger children need hands-on experiences and best engage when information is presented in multiple formats, such as text, images, video, and audio. Older children, including those in high school, also need this accommodation. The technology available in the modern classroom offers exciting opportunities for improving student engagement.
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to switch to remote learning, many districts chose the Microsoft Teams for Education platform to connect teachers and students. While in-person classes have returned, Teams remains an essential tool for engaging students. When powered with an LMS application like Beedle, it becomes more than a communication platform; it’s a dynamic digital classroom where students can create and contribute.
Improving Student Engagement Requires Meeting Psychological Needs
To be engaged with their learning, students must be motivated. Intrinsic motivation—rather than external punishment-reward motivation—is truly what ignites the desire to learn. In their seminal work, Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Deci believe that the desire to learn and grow is an innate human quality, and they identify the needs that must be met so this motivating quality is manifested.
According to Ryan and Deci’s theory, students need to believe that they are capable of success; otherwise, they will have no motivation to try. They need to feel like they are in control of their learning so they can take credit for their accomplishments and continue their efforts. Most importantly, students need a sense of belonging. They need to believe that they are part of and supported by the school community. Once they do, they will internalize lesson objectives, team goals, and the school’s standards as their own objectives, goals, and standards.
A digital learning platform is most effective for engaging students when it can help meet these needs of self-efficacy, agency, and belonging.
Students Need a Growth Mindset to Engage with Learning
A fixed mindset is the belief that people are born with fixed intellectual abilities. It’s why people will describe themselves as being bad at math or claim that they lack mechanical aptitude, as if they were born with these traits. Students with a fixed mindset will take a failing grade as an indication that they are incapable of understanding the material, no matter how much study time they put in. Students will not engage with content that they believe is beyond their ability to grasp.
Conversely, a student with a growth mindset will double down on their efforts when encountering challenges or try a different approach to mastering the material. Students need to have confidence in their abilities if they are to succeed academically. Offering them multiple ways of interacting with materials is essential to developing a growth mindset.
Microsoft Teams for Education with the Beedle App Provides What Students Need
The twenty-first-century classroom requires technology to unite students and educators in an environment that supports self-efficacy and autonomy, creating a sense of belonging and a growth mindset. Adding Beedle to the features of Microsoft Teams for Education builds a platform that consolidates daily classroom tasks, lesson planning, lesson delivery, assessments, and communications in one place.
Students can log into their personal accounts at any time to review lessons and materials. Since it’s a comprehensive system, students only need one set of credentials to join classes, submit assignments, take tests and quizzes, and send messages. There’s no need to remember multiple user IDs and passwords.
They can revisit teacher-provided resources to learn at their own pace and build confidence in their learning abilities. They can also message their teacher or other students with questions or information, solidifying the idea of teamwork that underlies the Teams platform. The two-way communications capability enables teachers to send feedback and provide support and encouragement to individual students, thus strengthening their ability to personalize instruction.
Students will become proactive learners when given these tools. They grew up using the internet to find answers on their own, and logging into Teams with Beedle will give them a similar sense of self-directed learning. They will have access to their assignments and the resources that they need to complete them on one platform, and they will enjoy the same sense of connectedness that they experience on social media.
The features of Teams for Education extended with Beedle include the tools for improving student engagement in a familiar Microsoft environment.
Beedle is an all-in-one solution for teaching and learning in Microsoft Teams, giving schools the power to leverage Teams for improved resource and lesson planning, class management, insight organization, and more!
If you’re in a Teams district or school and want to unlock the true potential of Microsoft Teams, contact our specialists to maximize the worth of your Microsoft Teams investment today!