Meaningfully Engaging Learners Using Interactive Technologies

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Interactive technologies can provide a fun and meaningful way to engage students in a variety of learning experiences. This session will share technology tools and learning strategies which can be effectively adopted in a variety of teaching approaches. A variety of web links will be provided to support future exploration of the concepts related to the presentation. 

It is recommended that participants bring a laptop or tablet to best engage with the learning experiences.


Nigel serves as the Associate Director of the Teaching & Learning Center. He has spent his entire professional life in education, teaching in public schools in Australia, England and the US. After earning his Ed.D at West Virginia University, he taught at a variety of universities in teacher-education and kinesiology. At Georgia Southern University he became the inaugural Director of Wellness for the university initiating a variety of programs that served faculty, staff and students. Prior to joining UTHSC, Nigel created and directed the Tech4Teach program at Appalachian State University which promoted and supported the effective and efficient utilization of technology to enhance student engagement and learning.

Extended Abstract

Goals of session are that participants will be able to: 

  • Identify at least three technologies to effectively and meaningfully engage students 

  • Share at least two new ways to integrate an interactive technology into their courses 

Following a brief overview, the participants will, in small teams, explore a specific interactive technology to more effectively engage students in the learning process. Broad frameworks will be provided to enhance the efficiency of these efforts. These would include considering: providing practice experiences; asynchronous and synchronous learning; usability; focus on what is to be learned; the degree of student choice; group collaboration; universal design and scaffolding; the assessment/data collection process; and debriefing. The team members will then share what they have learned with other teams. 

Engagement is the first step in facilitating learning. With the increased interest in utilizing the Flipped Classroom course design, active student engagement has become a greater priority for the instructor. In fact, more than 130 peer-reviewed articles on the Flipped classrooms were published in 2016, exceeding the total published during the prior 15 years, (Talbert, 2017). The more engaged the students are, the more likely they are to participate meaningfully in the course activities.  

Interactive technologies provide the opportunity for instructors to motivate and actively engage students. It is critical for such technologies to be pertinent to the learning activities, efficient to utilize and support sustained interest. Cherif, et al., (2013) reported that students cited motivation (35%) and interest (11%) as two of the four prime causes of failure in college. Interactive technologies can be used for: brainstorming; checking for understanding; sharing work and perspectives; initiating and guiding discussions; increases accessibility; provide multiple formats for interacting with learning experiences and ways students can express what they have learned, (CAST, 1984-2017). Additionally, ECAR (2017) reported students in higher education want a greater and more meaningful use of technology in their courses. 

It is recommended that participants bring a laptop or tablet to best engage with the learning experiences. A variety of web links will be provided to support future exploration of the concepts related to the presentation. 


  • Center for Applied Special Technology. (1984-2017). National Center on Universal Design for Learning. Boston, MA, Retrieved from  

  • Cherif, H., Movahedzadeh, F. Adams, G. & Dunning, J. (2013). Why do students fail? Students’ perspective. A Collection of Papers on Self-Study & Institutional Improvement (29th ed.). The Higher Learning Commission

  • ECAR (June 19, 2017). 2017 Student & faculty technology research studies. EDUCAUSE 

  • Talbert, R. (2017). Flipped learning: A guide for higher education faculty. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC