Senior education editor Melissa Greenwood is blogging this week from ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2012 conference in Atlanta, Ga. Here is a blog inspired by a recent conference session on student engagement.

Does school have to be fun? No, but it should be engaging, according to Tim Dwyer of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.

Dwyer recently presented the session “Sharing Creative Ways to Engage Students” at CareerTech Vision 2012 where he offered innovative ideas for increasing student engagement and success. While Dwyer shared a range of strategies, including team-based learning and tests that give students partial credit for partial knowledge, it was his discussion of the role that quick response codes, or QR codes, play in his automotive class that struck me — and other attendees — as particularly interesting. Here’s a quick breakdown of his process:

Dwyer assigns students a specific car part and asks them to explain in a video how the part operates. For example, how does an alternator work? Students create a video, write scripts and narrate the video. Dwyer uploads the videos and uses a free online QR code generator to assign a code to each one. He prints the codes, laminates them and posts them on respective car parts. Students in the next class can scan the code with their smartphones and get instant access to a video tutorial showing how an alternator or other car part works.

“I like watching them make a movie. It makes them think about it,” Dwyer said, comparing the process to that of having to learn lines for a school play. “If you have to write a script about how to do a test procedure on a particular component, you understand it a whole lot better.”

Melissa Greenwood is SmartBrief’s senior education editor, with responsibility for the content in a variety of SmartBrief’s education e-news briefs. She also manages content for SmartBlog on Education and related social media channels. Prior to joining SmartBrief, Melissa held a variety of positions in the education field, including classroom teacher and education editor and writer.

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