Engagement, a word that's been around since the 17th century, has inevitably turned into a buzzword in EdTech and independent school marketing. Whether it's keeping students engaged in the classroom, or engaging alumni to become donors, "engagement strategy" is becoming one big blur.
But it doesn't have to be. Here's how we think "engagement" should be defined in each sphere at your school, and what you'll need to do in order to achieve it.
Engagement in the Classroom: A Deeper Learning Experience
Being "engaged" in the classroom is no longer defined by scribbling down pages of notes as a teacher drones on about 18th century history. Technology has completely changed that.
Engagement in the classroom is defined by a richer learning experience, where lectures are a supplement, rather than the core, of the classroom experience. Meaningful debates and discussions that require students to implement what they've learned, rather than absorb information, keeps them engaged.
How can you achieve this? Implement a learning management system at your school that ensures students spend time learning outside of the classroom and discussing in the classroom. An LMS is an excellent supplement to an iPad 1:1 program because it allows students to access online resources and assignments in the classroom and at home.
Technology is already something students are interested in, but school? In some cases not so much. Providing an education through a medium they know and love will create and maintain engagement, which is bound to improve grades and even matriculation.
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Engagement on Your Website: A Longer Learning Experience
Think of your user's attention as a pie. Although the pie is rather large, it's in high demand — so getting even the tiniest piece requires extreme effort. (And then you wonder, was it even worth the wait for that tiny bite? Maybe.)
So what do we mean by all this?
Today's user is completely saturated by content. So being engaged on your website doesn't just mean they're on your site. It means they're clicking, scrolling, and taking the time to peruse through your content — so you've not only gotten a sliver of that pie — you've gotten a big piece of it. They're staying on your website longer because you've piqued their interest or you've provided them with an easy next step.
Engagement on Social Media: A Sharing Experience
Relationships on social media are easy to start but hard to maintain. For example, on Facebook I follow more than 200 brands and pages. About how many of those do I interact with on a daily basis (besides Finalsite)? Maybe five. And of course it doesn't help that Facebook fills my timeline with content solely from those five brands on a daily basis and nothing else because I've "engaged" with them.
Today, engagement in your communications is so much more than likes and followers — it's about active brand enthusiasts who like, share, and follow your every move on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. If you want your pages to be seen as "worth following" try and share content that entertains of informs. Key takeaway: Think quality over quantity.