Engaging Students in a Digital Learning Environment—Strategies and Resources

Keeping students engaged in the classroom was a challenge for educators before the COVID-19 era. Now that many schools have transitioned to digital learning environments, maintaining that engagement is a much bigger hurdle for educators to clear—especially with social media and streaming video just an enticing click away from their fingertips.

Which factors indicate if you’re keeping your students truly engaged, or if you’re missing opportunities in your online instruction? How can you help students stay focused? How can educators adapt when everything is in flux?

Finding the answers to these questions could help educators determine ways to boost student learning engagement:
  • How can educators encourage engagement in a digital learning environment?
  • How can educators define “engagement” (and how does that definition provide guideposts to engaged learning)?
  • What cultural factors impact learning engagement?
  • How does teaching social and emotional learning (SEL) encourage engagement?
  • How can personalized learning support student engagement in a digital learning environment?
Watch this free webinar to help you begin to answer these questions and to make learning inclusive and equitable for all students. We will share resources and present ideas and best practices, from current and former K-12 practitioners, that you can put into use immediately. You’ll also hear about a learning solution from ACT designed to help educators with adaptive learning, SEL, and professional development.

Related Resources

Webinar Overview

Date: January 6, 2021
Time: 4:00 p.m. EST / 1:00 p.m. PST
Duration: 60 minutes

Register for the Webinar

Bonnie A.
 HainDr. Bonnie A. Hain, Senior Director, Learning and Professional Services, ACT

Dr. Bonnie A. Hain has spent more than 25 years in education. She began her professional career as a teacher of English and World Languages. After obtaining her PhD in English from Stony Brook University, she spent several years teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in English (at the University of San Diego, Southeastern Louisiana University, and Bowie State University). She served as the PK-21 English Language Arts specialist at the Maryland State Department of Education where she facilitated development of state standards and state assessments.

After leaving the state department, she returned to PreK-12 education, where she held positions as a reading coach, building administrator and district administrator. In 2011, Dr. Hain joined Achieve to lead the design and development of the PARCC assessments in ELA/literacy and later helped to found CenterPoint Education Solutions, a small nonprofit focused on supporting districts, aligning their curriculum, assessments, instructional practice, and professional learning as a means to improve student outcomes.

In June 2020, she joined ACT as the Senior Director of Learning and Professional Services to lead a team of expert content specialists in PreK-12 who support districts in growing content curriculum, assessment, and educator knowledge of standards and content pedagogies to enhance student learning. As a child of poverty and a first- generation college graduate, Dr. Hain recognizes the impact educators have on changing one’s life trajectory, and she has dedicated her life’s work to ensuring all children have access to quality instructional resources and education opportunities.

Alia Knight-DahlMs. Alia Knight-Dahl Language Arts Teacher, Frederick County Public Schools; Adjunct Professor, Hood College

Alia Knight-Dahl is a classroom instructor in English Language Arts for Frederick County Public Schools and an adjunct professor teaching courses on Blended Learning and Distance Education for Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. She began her career as an educator as a Pre-K teacher for a private preschool and has since taught PreK, kindergarten, third grade, fifth grade, and middle school.

Alia completed her Master of Education in Instructional Technology in 2016 from Mount St. Mary’s College. She also has an Associate of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from Rowan College at Burlington County and a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Mount St. Mary’s College.

She is an experienced presenter on Blended Learning (including presentations at the 2018 Common Ground conference in Maryland and numerous EDcamp conferences), as well as the author of “Making Blended Learning Work in Your Classroom” and “Toolkit: Tips and Tools for Blended Learning” MSEA Actionline Magazine, December 2017.

As a formerly underestimated child of poverty, Alia recognizes that the value of a child comes not from where they are but from the potential of what they can become. Technology has the power to level the playing field, and Alia is therefore passionate about ending the digital divide and empowering diverse voices to create academic equity for all.

 Patricia Beadle Dr. Patricia Beadle Senior Content and Services Developer, Humanities, ACT

Dr. Patricia Beadle has more than 30 years of experience in teaching and leading at the state, university, and high school levels. Just prior to joining the ACT team, Dr. Beadle worked for an education nonprofit organization as the Director of Professional Learning Services. Previously, she managed test development for the PARCC consortium in the creation of the PARCC assessment. She taught humanities at the high school level and curriculum and instruction, curriculum design, and advanced statistics at the university level. She has been a building and district administrator and worked for the Arkansas Department of Education providing professional learning opportunities for educators at the local, state, and national levels.

Patricia earned her BS in Social Studies from College of the Ozarks, a MEd in Education Administration from the University of Arkansas, and her EdD in Education, with a concentration in curriculum and measurement, from Lindenwood University. She is passionate about supporting educators in making the connections between curriculum, instruction, and assessment as the most effective way to positively impact student success.

 Nancy LewinDr. Nancy Lewin Senior Director, ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning

Dr. Nancy Lewin is a senior director in ACT’s Center for Equity in Learning, where she focuses at the program and local levels on the intersections of equity innovation and improvement in schools, districts, and postsecondary institutions. She is responsible for the Center’s activities pertaining to school, district, and postsecondary partner networks around improvement, innovation, and equity aligned with the strategic focus of the Center. This includes the digital divide, student success for underserved populations, and leveraging the use of ACT products, resources, research, and expertise in collaboration with internal and external partnerships.

Dr. Lewin emphasizes the need for developing and nurturing strong relationships with organizations and associations that focus on Hispanic and Latino learners. She has led the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents as executive director and has 23 years of experience with specialization in Multiliteracy, Exceptional Education, Climate and Culture Setting, Curriculum Development, as well as Professional Leadership. Dr. Lewin has vast experience in education. Her experiences include teaching and leading in K-12 schools, serving as Special Education Director and Chief Academic Officer. She has served in preparing individuals as school administrators as an adjunct university professor.

Dr. Lewin earned her doctorate in professional leadership at University of Houston and holds K-12 school district superintendent certificates in Texas and Virginia. She is a Rice Educators Entrepreneurial Fellow and has a love for learning, innovation and technology. Dr. Lewin is fluent in Spanish and believes in the importance of being bilingual, bicultural, and biliterate. Her goal is to speak at least four different languages. She is a champion for equity and believes that access, information, and opportunity are essential to the success of all students and leaders.