10 Types of Digital Activities to Engage Teenagers

“The adolescent mind is essentially a mind or moratorium, a psychosocial stage between childhood and adulthood, and between the morality learned by the child, and the ethics to be developed by the adult” (Erikson, 1963, p. 245).

I began teaching teenagers in 2004 in Texas. I really enjoy teaching teenagers and supporting them in becoming strong individuals ready to conquer the world as adults when they leave my classes. Teaching teenagers is much harder today than when I was a teenager. With social media, teens are constantly evaluated by peers and people worldwide. Bullying is a rampant problem and impacts millions of teenagers. according to the famous theorist, Erikson, teenagers are at the 5th Stage of Development, called the Identity vs. Role Confusion (12-18 yrs. old) stage. Teens are developing their identities, focused on fitting in, establishing beliefs, and defining their values and goals. My new book, Hacking Digital Learning Strategies with EdTech Missions, has 10 digital missions to help teachers support their teenage students in establishing their identities and defining their goals using technology and digital devices. Below, find 10 different types of activities and tons of resources to address the developmental needs of your teenage students.

Get your copy of Hacking Digital LearningThe 30 Goals Challenge, or Learning to Go. Ask me about training your teachers, ShellyTerrell@gmail.com!

  • One way to help your teenage students set goals for their future is with vision boards and dream boards! Check out resources and lesson ideas here.
  • Get students to reflect on their identities with selfie challenges which is one of the missions in my book. Find selfie activities, resources, and apps here. Find a free Epic Selfie Adventure template here.
    • Students can create selfie comics with the Comics Head (iOS/Android) app, Friendstrip (iOS/Android) app, or selfie comic videos with the Lomics (iOS/Android) app.
    • Teens can create selfie avatar videos with Gabsee (iOS/Android) app.
  • Host collaborative video discussions and debates using the
    Flipgrid (iOS/Android) app and web tool or VoiceThread (web/iPad) app. Flipgrid is especially motivating for teens with emoji reactions and other cool features.
  • Get your teenage learners to create podcasts, host a radio talk show, or create other audio projects. Find resources and web tools and apps here.
    • Students can learn how to conduct interviews with the lesson plans and questioning tips from StoryCorps.
  • Teens communicate and express themselves with emojis, text speak and emoticons. Bill Nye has a new video series #EmojiScience where students can snap an emoji and receive science videos. Find more emoji resources and activities here.
  • Teens love creating videos. Get them working in small groups to produce animated movies, claymation videos, tv commercials, news reports, documentaries, DIY/How-to videos, tutorials, silent films, and other types of films. Find resources and web tools and apps here.
  • Teens are motivated by game based learning and gamification. Find resources and web tools here.
  • Teenagers love creating playlists and discovering music. Check out these resources for getting students to learn with popular music and hip hop.
  • Students also enjoy memes. Get them to create memes about the rules or to express how various characters feel with Meme Generator. Students can also find several math and science memes as well.
  • Teens love puns and gifs. Get them to learn with gifs with the following resources:

Challenge: Try one of these ideas to engage learners in your classroom this year!

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Shelly Terrell

Shelly Sanchez Terrell (@ShellTerrell) is an award winning digital innovator, an international speaker/consultant, and the author of Hacking Digital Learning with EdTech Missions, The 30 Goals Challenge for Teachers, and Learning to Go. She has trained teachers and taught English language learners in over 20 countries as an invited guest expert by organizations, like the US Embassy, UNESCO Bangkok, Cultura Inglesa of Brazil, the British Council in Tel Aviv, IATEFL Slovenia, HUPE Croatia, ISTEK Turkey, and Venezuela TESOL. She has been recognized by several organizations and publications as a leader in the movement of teacher driven professional development as the founder and organizer of various online conferences, Twitter chats, and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). Two of the projects she co-organized were shortlisted for ELTons, #ELTChat and the Virtual Round Table Language and Technology online conference. She was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Professional Women, awarded a Bammy Award as a founder of #Edchat, and named as one of the 10 Most Influential People in EdTech by Tech & Learning. Her greatest joy is being the mother of baby Savannah and Rosco the pug. Shelly has an Honors BA in English with a Minor in Communication and a specialization in Electronic Media from UTSA, a Masters in Curriculum Instruction ESL from the University of Phoenix, and a CELTA from CELT Athens. She regularly shares her tips for effective technology integration via Twitter (@ShellTerrell), Facebook.com/ShellyTerrell, and on her blog, TeacherRebootCamp.com, which has won several awards and recognitions as one of the top ESL, Edtech and Elearning blogs. Find over 400 of her slide presentations at https://www.slideshare.net/ShellTerrell/presentations

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