Engaging Students Through Interactive and Collaborative Digital Technology

Concurrent Session 10

Brief Abstract

Interactive and collaborative technologies can meaningfully engage students while providing them with fun and interesting ways to connect with course content.  In this session, we will explore three specific technology tools: Padlet, Thinglink, and Flipgrid.  Groups of participants will conceptualize instructional approaches as they create assignments using these platforms.  


Dr Sean Nufer is the Director of Educational Technology at TCS Education System, and an associate adjunct professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and Pacific Oaks College.

Extended Abstract

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

In this session, participants will:
- Explore one of three featured technology platforms
- Collaborate with other participants in a learning environment (Canvas) to create a meaningful and engaging assignment
- Share and receive tips and ideas for creating effective lessons and assignments utilizing digital technology

Following a brief overview and example of each of the technology platforms (Padlet, Thinglink, Flipgrid), participants will break into one of three teams.  Each team will explore one of the interactive technologies and will work together to create an assignment that leverages the platform in a way that effectively addresses one or more of the following sample learning objectives (or a learning objective created by the group):

- Compare and contrast [the main points of the module or lesson]
- Contribute to a discussion about [topic]
- Analyze and evaluate the evidence provided by [a reading assignment]

Each group will work for approximately 20 minutes to create their assignments.  Participants will have access to a collaborative learning space located on the Canvas LMS platform: http://bit.ly/OLCinnovate19.  The focus of the group activity will be to provide a pedagogical framework for listed learning objectives while implementing technology to galvanize students into action.  When implementing instructional technology, it is important to consider various factors of success.  These include:

- Scalability
- Ease of use
- Group collaboration and/or interaction
- Application of constructivist learning theory
- Curriculum alignment

After participant groups have had time to prepare their materials, each group will have time to present their ideas to the large group.  Time at the end will allow a Q&A, sharing of ideas, and a collaborative session.  All participants will continue to have access to the Canvas LMS environment after the session closes and can continue to pull from or contribute to the session content.

By incorporating interactive technologies into our modules and assignments, faculty can better motivate students.  Cherif, et al., (2013) claimed that although many factors of retention and attrition are outside the control of the student or faculty, two of the leading factors that contribute to student failure are motivation and student attitudes (including lack of interest in coursework).  A challenge of course design is thus to present content in a way that actively engages the students.  Brooks & Pomerantz (2017) recently reported that students are seeking meaningful utilization of technology as they complete their assignments.  Technology is not the sole solution for addressing issues of student motivation, but it can be an effective tool to help ensure that students have a good understanding of the course materials and content, and teachers should actively seek learning opportunities that help motivate and inspire their classes.  


Brooks, D. C., & Pomerantz, J. (2017). ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2017. Louisville.CO: ECAR.  
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.