3 Ways to Increase Student Engagement During Distance Learning

Getting elementary students engaged during distance learning can be hard. Keeping them engaged is even harder. We know classroom motivation may be low right now, so we're here to help you increase student engagement!

Whether your school is doing distance learning, face-to-face, or a hybrid of the two, these three tips will give your class a boost of motivation and excitement!

3 tips to increase student engagement during distance learning

Tip 1: Gamify Your Lesson Plans to Increase Student Engagement

Child playing video games as a form fo education.

Why you haven’t tried it yet:

  • You’re already dealing with high expectations from parents and administration. They want to see that kids are really learning.
  • You think games are a fun brain break, but they aren’t a top priority in your teaching schedule. 

Why you should try it:

This school year, we can’t underestimate the power of a fun class period to engage your students. But games aren't just about fun. They offer a lot of important educational benefits as well!

For example, games put kids in situations where they have to perform tasks within a time limit or while using certain rules. These tasks create opportunities for kids to practice problem solving, memory, and teamwork. Which are all 21st century skills that young children will need to thrive in the future!

Need even more reasons to try games in your classroom?

Games that require students to present results or outcomes are a great way to work on communication skills. You not only get to see how students communicate with the game directly, but how fun is it to hear or read what they learned while playing?

Finally, use games to emphasize key subject matters. This way, kids will start looking forward to material review!

Kids playing the learn-to-code game, Kodable, to increase student engagement.

How to make it happen:

There are a lot of free resources that can help you gamify your curriculum. From formative assessments to entire lesson plans, here are some of our web-based favorites for distance learning:

  • Kahoot - A game-based learning platform made up of user-generated multiple-choice quizzes
  • Flocabulary - Hip hop videos and instructional games that promote literacy and spark creativity
  • Quizlet  - A learning platform where players work to correctly match the terms and definitions from customizable study sets

Tip 2: Integrate Coding With Core Subjects

Coding example from Kodable, the learn-to-code app for elementary students

Why you haven't tried it yet

  • You’re not sure how coding would fit in with any of the other subjects you teach.
  • You think a computer science activity could be a nice bonus, but you have a lot of other things you need to teach first.
  • You don’t know a lot about coding. You're not sure where you would even begin, let alone how you would teach it to your elementary students.

Why you should try it:

Now more than ever, technology and school are linked. This is a perfect time to cover topics in class that students see as important to their current lives and future.

Just think, what's more relevant for students than the shift in technology usage we’ve experienced this year?

When kids know how and why things works the way they do, they become more engaged and motivated. By adding computer science into your core subjects, you can help students understand computers and their importance. All while using their critical thinking skills!

Elementary student learning to code playing Kodable to increase student engagement.

How to make it happen:

Coding easily integrates with many subjects like math, ELA, and science! Here are resources for introducing coding and computer science to your K-5 students:

  • Common Sense Media - A digital citizenship curriculum for K-12
  • Edutopia - A teacher's guide for integrating computer science into other school subjects
  • Kodable - A complete K-5 curriculum that teaches coding fundamentals through interactive games and creative projects

Tip 3: Provide Personalized Support For Every Student

Fuzzes from Kodable, the learn-to-code app for elementary kids.

Why you haven't tried it yet:

  • You’re already swamped modifying activities to be Zoom-friendly, troubleshooting technology, and communicating with parents- all during a global pandemic.
  • You want to provide individualized support for every student, but you don’t think you have the time or energy right now. 

Why you should try it:

Students are more likely to be engaged when what they're learning is challenging yet doable. Personalized learning is the perfect way to meet each student where they're at or provide them extra help!

However, getting the right content to every student can be difficult during distance learning, especially when students are at different developmental levels or have unequal access to materials.

Luckily, creating personalized lesson plans and providing individual support for students is much easier than you think. All you need the right tool! 

How to make it happen:

We love Showbie for personalized learning, so we had to share it with you!

Showbie allows you to easily send worksheets, videos, and personalized feedback to one or multiple students at a time. These features allow you to provide support where students really need it and connect with each child in a way that is individualized.


When it come to celebrating the work of every student, we know it can be hard during distance learning. But Showbie has that covered as well!

Teachers and students can save work to a students' portfolio and share these accomplishments with parents. The portfolio highlights personal growth and achievement, which lead to increased student motivation. Who doesn't love to showoff their work, right?

Now that you've learned three new ways to increase student engagement, it's time to apply them to the classroom. Happy teaching!

We want to see you and your students! Don't forget to tag us in your photos and videos at @kodable.