How to capture students’ attention?

How to capture the attention and concentration of students? This is one of the biggest challenges facing teachers and education officials.

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Generation Z constantly lives and expects to have ‘experiences’

Today, the young generation are hyper-connected, and are becoming more and more impatient.

Generation Z lives and expects to have ‘experiences’ all the time, be it through recommended games, websites or apps. This notion of an ‘experience’ is present in most ideas that are found outside of an educational environment. It is therefore important to adapt the teaching methods for this new generation, whose attention and concentration span is becoming shorter and shorter.

Using the idea of an ‘experience’ to promote learning

We can observe that ‘experience’ during the learning years is becoming more prominent. The more a student is immersed in a type of ‘experience’, the more he/she will be able to learn. We must use this idea of ‘experience’ to allow learning. The more we take the learner into a story by creating a kind of universe of experience through interactions, the more we will feed and capture the student’s attention and concentration. Today, learning through experience is extremely present. It is therefore necessary to propose interactive experiments to capture the attention of this Generation Z.

Students will never learn as much as when they are engaging/engaged in their learning

Teachers aren’t always aware that they could emphasise this idea of an ‘experience’ to tap into the mind-set of Generation Z. It is nevertheless a great way to keep the motivation of the student throughout the year. Studies show that a student will never learn as much as when engaged in learning.

Here are four concrete examples that you can put in place to capture your students’ attention:

1. Project-based learning

Project-based learning involves bringing students together to work on the same topic. This is different from traditional learning and will allow students to develop new skills (disciplinary, soft skills, autonomy, transverse, critical thinking, questioning etc) to learn more easily.

Modify the size of the group to help develop these new skills. The advantages and difficulties of working in a group of 6 people are different from those of a group of 2 people.

2. Gamification

Bringing fun and games into the classroom dramatically increases the motivation of learners, their understanding of a subject matter and the amount of information they retain.

Indeed, the game mechanics are created on behaviours that engage the player to invest a little more, bit by bit. Gamification brings attention, concentration and helps the student to learn.

Nevertheless, it should not be forgotten that the game has an educational purpose and it is necessary to take a step back. Bringing games simply for fun is useless. You have to give an overview to show the student that they have learned something. Hence the importance of contextualizing the experience.

An excellent way to offer interactive experiences which are quick and easy to set-up is the Wooclap competition mode.

Students use their smartphone, tablet or laptop to answer the questions, and the rankings with the best scores are projected onto the screen.

3. Interactive slides

Generation Z no longer expects to listen to two-hour presentations passively. Integrate surveys, multiple-choice questions, word clouds or even open questions in your slides, and invite your students to answer them using Wooclap.

Instead of trying to fight smartphones, use them to regularly redirect the students’ focus and to emphasise the important lessons during class.

4. Q&A sessions

There is nothing more frustrating for a student than to not be able to ask questions.

There is nothing more frustrating for a teacher than to be constantly interrupted during a lesson.

Wooclap offers an interactive presenter mode. This allows the students to write questions during the lesson, and for the teacher to choose messages to be projected on the screen at opportune moments.

Sébastien Lebbe

Sébastien Lebbe

Sébastien CEO & co-founder at Wooclap, a collaborative tech solution that boosts engagement in class and training