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Top Three Ways to Keep Young Learners Engaged in Your Virtual Classes

Posted by EiE Team on Thursday, March 4, 2021

As we approach a full year of virtual and hybrid learning, Zoom fatigue has set in -- for us as educators, but especially for our students. Navigating the ongoing meetings and staying  organized online can be challenging for the best of us, and many young learners have had a particularly rough time in hybrid classrooms.

We’ve asked our expert educators and searched the web for the best ideas for keeping students engaged during online sessions. Here’s what we found: 


Break Down Your Lessons! Long conference calls are a challenge, especially for young students. Keep lessons short and, whenever possible, in small groups so learners have an opportunity to engage one-on-one instead of getting lost in lectures.

Put students into breakout rooms so they can discuss concepts in small groups and have fewer distraction

Keep an organized list of daily/weekly assignments and goals for students to refer to

Try a flipped classroom style or virtual learning stations to make lessons manageable 


Use the Tech You’ve Got! At this point, we know our way around a Zoom call. Now’s the time to learn a new program or find a website that can change your approach -- or look at your existing tools a new way.

Collaborative editing and annotation abilities such as those in Google Docs can be used for round-robin storytelling or group brainstorming activities

Seesaw, Padlet and FlipGrid allow students to post videos of themselves completing lessons, so class time can be used for collaboration

Create a virtual vocab wall or list of free-time activities with Bitmoji or Google Sites


Keep it Interactive! Find hands-on activities like virtual scavenger hunts or games for your learners to play online together, or have them gather materials from the home for DIY experiments they can livestream for you during your call.

Have students use gestures or hand symbols to respond to flashcards or quizzes

Play a review game like Kahoot (free premium features during Covid-19) for test prep

Have students lead storytime or small groups lead their own Zoom experiments


As part of our ongoing series on virtual learning, we’d love to hear from you about how you promote engagement online, especially in your K-5 classrooms. If there are ways you’ve succeeded or struggled to engage your learners online, let us know in the comments below! For more information on engaging Engineering and Computer Science curricula, explore Engineering and Computer Science Essentials.

Written by EiE Team

Topics: EiE Resources for Teachers, EiE Teaching Tips, Engineering for All, Engineering is Elementary, Create a Generation of Problem Solvers

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