Learners are very different in the ways in which they can be engaged or motivated to learn. Some students are highly engaged by spontaneity and novelty while others prefer strict routine. Some learners might like to work alone, while others prefer to work with their peers. In reality, there is not one means of engagement that will be optimal for all learners in all contexts; providing multiple options for engagement is essential.
How can we do it?
Well, it is a difficult endeavour but we can start by asking students to analyze what makes their classes more or less motivating. This is a very good article on how to motivate students.
I would also recommend reading the strategies related to this principle in depth and check the different checkpoints here.
I would like to give a very simple example of checkpoint 7.1, i.e., optimize individual choice and autonomy by providing choices regarding the type of rewards od recognition available. My two practical examples for this post are the following ones:
The first one is a tool for Geography teachers : Geoguessr. This is a web-based geographic discovery game designed by Anton Wallén, a Swedish IT consultant, released on 9 May 2013. The game uses a semi-randomized Google Street View location for paying members and Mapillary for non-members. The game requires players to guess their location in the world using only the clues visible. The free version is obviously not so interesting as the paid version.
The second suggestion I would like to present today is a strategy called Scientific Sensory Station, a play-based learning center in which students use their senses to explore scientific concepts.
You can sign up for a trial and see an example here.
To sum up, as you very well know, there is no magical wand to reach every student but remember the key to approaching our goal: "if they do not learn the way you teach, teach the way they learn".