"Why Are We Doing This?"

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  • Title: "Why Are We Doing This?": Using Digital Reflection to Increase Student Engagement
  • Author(s): Jen McConnel
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: e-Learning and Innovative Pedagogies
  • Journal Title: Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal
  • Keywords: Student Engagement, Project-Based Learning, PBL, Weekly Reflections, Google Forms, Action Research
  • Volume: 11
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 1835-9795 (Print)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/1835-9795/CGP/v11i02/13-22
  • Citation: McConnel, Jen. 2018. ""Why Are We Doing This?": Using Digital Reflection to Increase Student Engagement." Ubiquitous Learning: An International Journal 11 (2): 13-22. doi:10.18848/1835-9795/CGP/v11i02/13-22.
  • Extent: 10 pages


A frequent concern among any group of teachers is how to enhance learning by increasing student engagement, particularly in the secondary classroom. Although some argue that technology is interfering with student engagement, particularly in schools with a one-to-one device ratio and a “bring your own device” policy, the same technology that may offer individual distraction can be harnessed to address the issue of student engagement. Deliberate use of open-ended weekly reflections using Google Forms offers students an opportunity to interact with the curriculum and take ownership of their own learning. Questions such as, “What have you learned this week?” and “What haven’t you learned or are still confused by this week?” provide a virtual exit ticket, while questions such as, “Is there anything you want me to know?” offer students the opportunity to speak openly about group work, social concerns, and topics of interest to them, and the data collected offer teachers valuable insight for shaping pedagogy and deepening relationships with students. This paper will explore action research into this strategy conducted over two semesters with secondary students in a freshman English course at a Project-Based-Learning high school.