As students spend more of their time using technology, teachers are having to come up with new ways to keep the 21st Century student engaged in the classroom. Classblogmeister.com is getting middle school students excited about writing opinion blogs in place of class journals and furthering discussion. When students publish on their blog, they are writing to their classmates in an environment that encourages their peers to respond. This forum opens student discussion and takes the pressure away that writing only for the teacher as audience and to receive a grade can create. There are many ways in which teachers can facilitate and students can participate. This interactive model is limitless when students are asked to come up with their own ways to teach themselves and others.
Updating the classroom for students is less about needing the most up-to-date technology and more about gearing the lesson toward the student’s individual passion. In the article, “Using music in the classroom to inspire creative expression,” teacher Gaetan Pappalardo writes, “If ‘experts’ continue to bash the humanity out of teaching, how on Earth will teachers teach? The dead honest truth is that inspiring people in the world, the best teachers out there really, are passionate about life.” A teacher can only have the opportunity to maximize student engagement if the student wants to invest in the lesson. This is why it is important to use multiple forms of student-led exercises to get the most students involved as possible. Implementing activities like having students write their own quizzes or lead their own Socratic Seminar, give them freedom and control in an environment that might not always be conducive to their individual learning style. Involving students early so that they participate in their own learning as well as the teaching of others will motivate them and prepare them to work well in the world outside of class once they graduate.