You might think that teaching a high school programming course in which students are asked to code simple games and interactive websites would be motivating and exciting, but there are unforeseen elements of dealing with the teenage brain and the influences on their lives that seem to creep into the most well-designed plans.

Students come to class with various types of anxiety, fears, and coping issues from daily stresses. They are also distracted with social media and the availability of instant information at their fingertips. As teachers, how do we keep them engaged and focused on their learning with the overwhelming amount of social and emotional distractions in their lives?

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Student-driven ideas: the key to keeping students engaged

Keeping students on task is a constant challenge, so when I observed some students playing an online game when they were supposed to be working on an assignment, my first reaction was to ask them to close the program. Then I began to wonder why they were so fixated on playing this particular game.

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eSchool News Curriculum, SEL & Instructional Tools Guide

The eSchool News Curriculum, SEL & Instructional Tools Guide is here! It features strategies to help K-12 educators use innovative and engaging digital instructional tools in the classroom, and it also highlights how real teachers and school leaders are incorporating SEL in their schools. A new eSchool News Guide will launch each month–don’t miss a single one!

About the Author:

Dianne Pappafotopoulos is a certified instructional technology specialist/teacher and certified Google Educator at Dover Sherborn (MA) Public Schools, where she teaches technology courses and assists faculty and staff to integrate technology into the curriculum. With a masters in education and a combination of teaching, business, and technology experience, Pappafotopoulos is well versed in the types of resources and pedagogy that work well in the classroom to engage students and enable teachers to feel confident with technology-rich lessons.


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