NEISD teachers focus on engagement during distance learning
Melissa Flowers knows that finding creative ways to keep her students engaged is vital in and out of the classroom. One way she’s staying connected with her Design and Technology Academy (DATA) at Ed White Middle School students is through gaming. Flowers is using an online game platform called Gimkit to review material in a fun, collaborative environment.
Gimkit was developed by a high school student and requires students to use their knowledge, collaboration and strategy skills to work together. The teacher, or host of the game, decides if a group or an individual will play the game. Flowers says this option gives her valuable feedback.
“I use it to introduce new concepts to gauge how much they know and to reinforce and review, and they love it,” said Flowers. “If I am looking for quick feedback on if students grasped a concept, I do individual. Or if I’m using it more of as a review, I’ll set teams. It is by far my favorite engagement tool currently, both in class and now virtually.”
While gameplay on Gimkit is helping Flowers engage her students, she’s also searching for new ways to develop a social and emotional connection. This inspired her to launch “Fun Fact Fridays,” so students can share a fun, random or interesting fact they learned with the class.
But more than anything, she misses seeing her students every day.
“I stand at the door every day, every class and greet them by name as they come in,” said Flowers. “Some want high fives, some want hugs… that’s the part I miss. We’re all counting down the days until we get back into our classrooms.”