As an educator, no matter your teaching environment, you’re constantly looking for new ideas for engaging your students and keeping them motivated to learn. We admire this trait, and we’re also inspired by the ideas you’ve shared with us. In this spirit, we’re pleased to share some of those ideas with our readership.

See below for ideas on keeping students — and yourselves! — engaged with, and energized for, the educational process.

Do you have any teaching ideas you’d like to share with the community? Respond in the Comments section below!


Most of today’s students prefer hands-on learning in the classroom. Therefore, while you can present a key concept in a lecture, you need to follow up with an example of “how this concept works” and how to see the concept in practice as a hands-on lab exercise.

This is one of the best ways of keeping students engaged in a learning mode. Unfortunately, not many textbooks hold on to this approach on a 50:50 basis.

Dr. NR Mantena, Professor, Electronics and Computer Technology, LA Southwest College (Los Angeles, CA)


Grown ups need a little something extra to read and get something out of a chapter in the book.

I find that reading a section and summarizing it in 10-15 bullet points motivates them and gives them a good tool to remember the topic at hand.

I use this technique from time to time to provide variety to their busy workload.

Juan R. Bravo


Exercise is the best preparation for any performance. It allows the body to be pushed to extreme limits and reminds the brain that other challenges in your future are mere barriers that can be broken down with persistence. My exercise of choice is running. Fortunately, I have a dog to remind me to get moving everyday. While running, I feel free and empowered. I come up with great ideas to share with my students, and my energy maintains a high level throughout the day. I wasn’t always a runner. Five years ago, I started walking a mile everyday. Today, I run a minimum of 4 miles 4 to 5 times a week. Here are some other bonuses that comes with running: It’s free, with the exception of investing in running shoes, and it’s convenient – I walk out of my house and put one foot in front of the other.

Sabrena Odom


Utilize Twitter and Skype to engage students in learning. Place a question on Twitter daily and have the student answer the question citing the source.

Marian Yavorka Jobe, Faculty UPMC Mercy


We are exploring the possibility of allowing students who are out of school due to an illness/injury for an extended period of time use the Qik app.  Here’s how it works: the teacher can use their smartphone or the phone of a student to video the class lesson/activity for the day. The off-site (ill/injured) student can access and watch the lesson “live” or look at it later. The student must have information needed from the teacher to access the video (code). In essence, it is a closed forum that can be viewed only by the ill/injured student. We haven’t used this app yet, but will in the event we need to help one of our students out who is ill with mono or with an injury. It could also be used by someone presenting at a seminar or conference. Say, if someone can’t make the presentation due to a family emergency or flight delay, they might access the presentation then or later. It is a great app and we are hoping to use it this year for our students who might need it.

P.S. We are a high school that allows students to use their own smartphones, iPads, or laptops with their teacher’s permission during classes.  Go ahead and check out “Qik” and see what you think–it is user friendly.  Michelle

Michelle Olson, Ed.S., Principal at Notre Dame de Sion High School, Kansas City, Missouri


Post Author: Tami Strang. Tami Strang is a Managing Editor of the Cengage Learning blog. She has extensive experience in higher education publishing, and recently obtained her Masters degree through the San Jose State University School of Library and Information Science.