Lumio Buzz: Take student engagement to the next level

Two students in an embrace.

Student engagement is on every educator's mind!

Our Ambassadors, Erin Glover and Brenna McPherren, are not just committed educators, they're also Technology Integration Facilitators (TIFs) at Lake Washington School District in Washington state, U.S. In their roles as TIFs, they've worked to identify the most common challenges that educators face in their classrooms, especially in the light of the pandemic. They discovered that "increasing student engagement" was a recurring theme with educators.

In this post, Erin and Brenna dive into three easy-to-use Lumio features that can save teachers time and maximize student engagement in classrooms.

First let's meet our Ambassadors!

Erin Glover, an educator of 10 years, is a mom of three and chicken keeper of many. Erin is dedicated to project-based learning and supporting student learning through engagement and ownership. She also enjoys helping colleagues and encouraging them to try teaching strategies that increase engagement in their classroom communities.

Brenna McPherren has been an educator for 23 years. She loves helping young students stay curious and become independent thinkers and learners. She believes in integrating technology and computer science into her teaching in meaningful ways and greatly enjoys teaching other educators how to do the same in their classrooms.

1. Power of graphic organizers

Lumio’s graphic organizers are an effective tool for helping students organize their thinking and communicate their learning effectively. As pointed out by Ambrose 2010, “how students organize their knowledge influences how they learn and apply what they know.” Lumio’s ready-made, customizable graphic organizers encourage students to demonstrate their understanding and allow educators to check for prior knowledge, scaffold learning, and gain insight into student progress.

Erin and Brenna have discovered that ready-made graphic organizers are a fun way to increase student engagement, requiring very little prep from the teachers.

Brenna uses graphic organizers in her second-grade vocabulary lesson. Brenna uses them as a whole-class activity and also as individual student handouts. And after they've been created, these graphic organizers can be slightly modified to create new activities, adding flexibility and saving prep time.

Erin's use of graphic organizers further demonstrates their flexibility. She used a graphic organizer as part of her Book Tasting lesson plan, beginning with a blank graphic organizer and incorporating prompts that stimulate metacognitive thinking.

2. Power of a blank page

Lumio's blank page feature is an empty canvas where teachers can guide and stimulate students’ creativity while engaging them in fun ways. Promoting creativity in the classroom has been shown to enhance student engagement. Moreover, it's easy to turn blank pages into collaborative workspaces that stimulate whole-class discussions, leading to increased participation, greater student choice, and opportunities for students to be creative in demonstrating their learning.

In her example, Brenna begins by putting a picture on a blank page and using it to stimulate classroom discussions and inquiry-based thinking. She's observed that using this sort of simple collaborative activity leads to whole-class engagement and requires little to no prep work.

Erin has used blank pages to design activities that give students a space for creative demonstration of their learning. In her assignment about "Women in History," Erin added some simple instructions to a blank page and then asked students to use text and pictures to express themselves creatively and work on a project that they can be proud of.

3. Power of student choice

Giving students choices in their learning has a number of benefits, ranging from increasing student engagement to allowing for differentiation by providing appropriate challenges (Toshalis & Nakkula, 2012). Erin and Brenna love using Lumio’s Shout It Out! feature followed by giving students scaffolded choices to demonstrate their learning.

Shout It Out! is a powerful tool that allows students to share ideas, prior knowledge, and opinions synchronously from their devices across all learning environments. When used to promote student choice in an activity, Shout It Out! can be very effective in increasing student engagement, as it makes the learning process more relevant.

Brenna recently used Shout It Out! as a brainstorming activity with her second graders to get them excited about a project about the solar system. She set up Shout It Out! to get students to reflect on “What do I already know about the solar system” and “What do I want to know about the solar system?” This generated genuine interest and motivated students to pursue their topics of interest for their research project. Students also got the opportunity to choose how to showcase their learning which ranged from Lumio blank pages to posters to fact sheets etc.

Brenna and Erin’s examples showcase how teachers can use these Lumio features in more than one way to foster an environment of active, collaborative, and engaged learners. Brenna and Erin noted that integrating technology to increase student engagement does not necessarily require extensive preparation from the educator.

To hear Erin and Brenna discuss the design and use of their classroom activities in detail, watch their webinar here. Want to integrate their engaging activities into your lessons? Find their Lumio lesson here and save it to your own Lumio library!


Ambrose, S. A., Bridges, M. W., Lovett, M. C., DiPietro, M., & Norman, M. K. (2010). How Learning Works: 7 Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA: Josey-Bass.

Toshalis E. & Nakkula, M. J. (2012). Motivation, Engagement, and student voice . The Students at the Centre series. A Jobs For the Future Project.