Using technology to increase student engagement: my top tools

Between 10 and 15 minutes.

That’s, according to psychologists , the attention span of students in class these days. A bit of an issue when most classes last between 60 and 90 minutes, right?

Good indicators of a teacher loosing his/her student’s attention are, in my experience, students smiling at their computer or phone screens (they got a message from a friend/lover), or them typing frantically and never looking up at you (they are working on something else, sending an email).


Alongside all the “traditional” strategies to increase student’s attention and engagement, some apps and technologies can also make a difference.

Forget the time you banned students from going on their phones and computers in class!

Now, you need to push them to use this very technology – that supposedly distracts them – for purposeful use in and out of class. That is, according to me, the way forward.

Here are a few tools that me and my colleagues use and that are worth discovering for improved levels of student engagement:

  • Hstry : I discovered Hstry at a meetup in Brussels where the CTO pitched it. It’s a brilliant tool to create interactive timelines for students, which they can populate themselves too and use for studying purposes out of class. They also share community timelines created by other users, like this cool history of the Internet.
  • Padlet : used by many and available in web and mobile app format, Padlet also has a timeline format where students can post content (videos, documents, pictures, ideas) and structure presentations, topic discussions. It’s a bit more advanced than Hstry in terms of functionalities but equally cool and can be edited directly in class.
  • Jamstorming : another great tool for in-class engagement, which allows teachers to create interactive workshops by adding questions that students will aswer to in class. Students can also vote for the best answers, rate them, and organise them. Data is then downloadable for further use.
  • Cocertify : I just discovered this tool and will try and use it asap, because it allows something I am really keen on, which is peer assessment. You build your assessment with the desired criteria, then share it with students and analyse results afterwards.

I hope these reviews help. And you, which tools do you use as an educator, or even manager to engage your audience? Which ones do you recommend as a student?


Introducing: the KEDGE students guest blog series

For the first time since the inception of this blog, I’m going to host not only one guest blogger, but  15 of them!

What?guest blogger blog blogging contribution marketing

As a professor at KEDGE Business School in Bordeaux, France, and I am teaching on the digital marketing specialisation in our Msc programme. Within our “digital customer experience”, course kicking off today, I’m inviting my students to contribute to this blog with a guest post each.


It think it’s important for a future marketer to learn to produce quality content for a vast audience. It’s also part of a student’s job to articulate critical ideas and be able to share them convincingly. The point of this series of guest posts is getting the students out of their zone of comfort and providing them a friendly, yet professional outlet to do so.

How will it work?

Student will write on a topic of their choice, related to customer experiences. I’ll post the work and they will then promote it.  At the end, they will peer-assess each other’s work and this will count toward their final grade.

I am really excited to see their output and share it with you, which will come out in March and April.

Stay tuned for 15 insightful, smart and fresh posts from my students! They’ll be waiting for your support and tons of shares and comments to get their grades up, so watch this space!

Photo credits:

#2 presentation tip for marketing students: stop preparing.

I was telling you last week about my #1 tip to my marketing students when they present in class, which is to believe in what they are talking about. Here goes tip number 2.

Know when to STOP preparing your presentation. 

This might sound a bit/completely paradoxical but, in my experience, it has definitely helped reach better results. Its is also not as categorical as it sounds. Let me explain.

What often blocks students giving a presentation is that they feel that they are slipping away from its carefully rehearsed version. They start forgetting the words they wanted to use, then whole sentences, and ultimately forget their script. They panic or talk nonsense to cover the blanks in their minds.

In my opinion, this is exactly what happens when you OVER prepare your presentation. I think that the best way to prepare is  to:

  1. actually work on the content
  2. make your power point/prezi/keynote
  3. practice your presentation just once, to see whether you match your time constraint, especially if you are working in a group. On that basis, you know whether and by how much to cut or enhance it.

That’s it.


To sum up: don’t try and practice the presentation 20 times, or write a script that you absolutely must stick to. It’s fine to have a speech structure in mind, some quotes or jokes you want to say, a momentum you want to create, or side notes of things to say if you have time. But by all means don’t practice your presentation ad nauseam. By doing so, you loose your passion in the content (see #1 tip) & put useless pressure on yourself to stick to it.

Words of warning: this does not work for strictly-timed pitches of less than 5 minutes, and also only works if you have worked hard on the content of the presentation. If so, you should know it inside out, so why freak out about presenting it? Just enjoy the ride!

Further readings:

If you cannot help over prepare, here is some self-help.

#1 presentation tip for marketing students: just believe.

When students present their work in class, they easily fall into one of the following: a) utter panic mode, b) super sonic speed mode or c) note-reading mode. None of these is appealing to a teacher, and we all know that the way you deliver a speach can dramatically improve the perception of your audience.

In this post I will share my number one tip for students to really stand out in a presentation and impress their marketing tutors or professors, beyond the content.

The saying “fake it until you make it” basically means that until you’ve actually achieved whichever goal you aim to achieve, just pretend you’re already there. The same goes when you are being assessed, and thus in the anticipation of your much dreaded presentation grade, so: fake it until you are graded! 

Presenting in front of a classroom and your teacher is not easy. Presenting like a winner, to me, is first and foremost believing in what you are saying. This seems easy, but for marketing students, it means that they need to really embody the product, strategy, organisation or brand they are talking about. They need to be captivated by it, to believe in its strength and potential….whether they are in a self-selected team or not, or working on a self-selected topic or not. First and foremost, this means having fun: if you are in panic, or totally bored and just wanting to be done with it, it will never work.

“Delivering your presentation like a winner is all about believing in what you are saying”


With equal levels of content quality, a passionate student or group is highly likely to have a stronger impact on their professor, and better scores as a result…at least in my classes.

If a marketing learner does not learn to captivate and convince, who will?

What do you think? Are you sometimes struggling when presenting? What would be your number one tip if you are on the audience side?

PS: This was my #1 tip for marketing students to enhance their presentations…more to come!