Student-Centered Learning Experiences

Student-centered learning experience

I want my students to work collaboratively together on a project and get the benefits of common knowledge, process and critical thinking
  • Use collaborative Google Apps for Education tools (Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, Drawings) where every group member can work on the project at the same time
  • Use collaborative technology tools where multiple students can access:  Prezi, ThingLink, Padlet, EduBlogs, Wikispaces, LMS Digital Portfolio, Shared albums in Google Photos
  • Use online discussion forums (Edmodo, Canvas) to extend discussions beyond the class period
  • Host a backchannel chat during Socratic Seminar using Today’s Meet
  • Brainstorm ideas and post to digital bulletin boards (Padlet, Linoit, Dotstorming)
  • Hold asynchronous debates by recording opening arguments & rebuttals using video webcam
  • Use polling software (Socrative, Poll Everywhere, Google Forms) for surveys, opinions, voting, or polls. Collectively analyze data in Google Sheets and graph results
  • Use commenting on Google docs during the peer review process.
  • Use project management software (flow charts, brainstorm maps, graphic organizers, etc)
I want my students to have an authentic audience for their learning or to “do the real work of the discipline”
  • Have students blog and/or podcast about what they are learning in class for a real audience using EduBlogs or AudioBoom.
  • Find online collaborative projects with another class, global partners or other IB schools.
  • Bring in, record or Skype with experts in your field or host webinar using Google+ Hangouts.
  • Research real issues, participate in community projects then present solutions or steps to solve problems.
  • Design newspapers, presentations, PSA’s, a marketing plan or creative displays for organizations, business or outside groups
  • Submit writing to teen websites, publish books, eBooks or websites
  • Build 3-D models or simulations that others will use; Apply math concepts to real world problems
  • Participate in online challenges (EconChallenge, Global Math Challenge, Google Science Fair, etc.)
  • Collect real data & create graphs; analyze statistics or polling data & make inferences; present research to panel
  • Access Library of Congress source material, statistical data from Gov’t or NASA, explore research in electronic databases
I want to give students more ownership or choice in their learning and create a performance task instead of a traditional written paper or test.
  • Provide options for how students can demonstrate their understanding by offering a variety of performance tasks:  Video project, newscast, online simulations, research & role play, design, build & create, digital art projects, interactive posters, Infographics, multimedia presentations, digitally record a written narration, place-based content embedded on map, build a class website, drama
  • Have students “teach” classmates by making “Khan Academy” style videos, Create online how-to guides using, start a YouTube channel
  • Create time for “Genius Hour” or passion-based research projects; showcase projects at Learning Fair.
  • Allow for self-selected print reading material, eBooks or Audiobooks

edcamp PDX

A few Portland area educators one evening were discussing on Twitter that we should get together face-to-face and meet each other and share ideas .. and bring a friend. Next thing you know we start brainstorming ideas for an unconference workshop day. What is an unconference? An unconference is a day where teachers / admins/ tech coordinators / Principals / IT folks self-organize their own day of professional development.

edcampPDX was born out of that discussion. Our first annual edcampPDX will be held at La Salle Catholic College Preparatory on Thursday, August 18th from 8:30-3pm. Information can be found at:

The edcamp format expects everyone to come ready to learn and share. Sessions are suggested by participants and lead by participants. Its good old fashion do-it-yourself professional development. You learn what you want to learn.

I’m hoping some folks will lead discussions about:

  • Project based learning
  • Moodle 2.0
  • WWG (wonderful world of Google)
  • Collaborating with fellow teachers
  • Bring you own devices
  • Web 2.0 smackdown


Tech integration curriculum ideas

Curriculum ideas for Technology Integration

based on National Technology Standards for Students

Creativity and Innovation:Demonstrate creative thinking and problem solving skills to develop innovative products and processes using digital technology
  • Recording personal memoirs w/ images in iMovie or Photostory
  • Create a website using Wix or Google Site to compare World Religions & embed information, videos, images into a Google maps
  • Use primary source images from Library of Congress to create digital timeline
  • Design a radio program, practice reading poetry or language conversations using VoiceThread, Garageband or Audacity
  • Use Prezi as an alternative to PowerPoint
  • Create a collaborative art presentation and share images through Flickr
Communication and Collaboration: Use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, across the global community, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  • Have a collaborative writing project using a shared Google document or use it for shared note taking w/ Evernote
  • Use Survey Monkey or a Google form to collect authentic data and then graph the result in Excel
  • Skype with an expert instead of bringing in a speaker
  • Collaborate with another school using a blog to discuss a topic like current events, environmental issues or service learning
  • Participate in a global asynchronous debate where each team records their arguments and then posts them online
  • Set up accts with iGoogle or social bookmarking sites (Delicious or Diigo) for students to share websites and online post-it-notes with each other
  • Brainstorm science concepts or pre-writing activities with Wallwisher or Inspiration
  • Set up microblogging with just your students using Edmodo
  • Set up groups with student’s email for document sharing, project directions and to foster communication
Research and Information Fluency: Select and apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, validate, and use information.
  • Follow inquiry method for authentic research and avoid “bird units”
  • Compare and contrast results from database searches or look for websites that show bias
  • Use specialty search features like wonder wheel, timeline or creative commons search
  • Set up accts with iGoogle or social bookmarking sites (Delicious or Diigo) for students to share websites and online post-it-notes with each other
  • Subscribe to current event or science blogs with RSS for research
  • Set up a collaborative research project with another LaSallian school and collect and share data
  • Have students create a screencast on how to solve an equation with screen capture software or use real photos/movies to determine math equations
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources.
  • Collect data about an authentic issue (ie, solar panels & alternative energy) & use data to influence decision making with blog, debate or PSA
  • Use models and simulations to modify data for best results
  • Write formal business letter to Congress or Representatives
  • Use a wiki or shared document to manage group projects, write collaborative science labs or present together
  • Look at discussion forum of Wikipedia to see debate of content
  • Use Google Maps or Earth to discuss and analyze how geography affects migration, population, border issues, etc.
  • Use games or online simulations for role playing, decision making
Digital Citizenship: Understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to digital technology and practice legal, ethical, and responsible behavior.
  • Model digital citizenship skills with a Moodle discussion forum or blog
  • Debate cyberbullying issues or write editorials
  • Create lessons for younger students about online safety and publish as a website, blog or movie
Technology Operations and Concepts: Utilize technology concepts and tools to learn. Select, use, and troubleshoot tools efficiently; Transfer current knowledge to learning of new technologies. Teach specific computer skills:

  • Word: MLA format, brochure, using Outline view, track changes, letter format
  • PowerPoint:  basic formatting, use speaker notes, action buttons, improving visual design, embedding sound & video, packaging for publishing
  • Excel:  setting up data, writing formula, graphing results
  • Google Apps: setting up accts, document sharing, shared folders, collaboration techniques

WIRED TEENS talk about technology

My 2010 Digital Video class made this video called WIRED TEENS talk about technology this past Spring. The students brainstormed the topics, interviewed the faculty members and students and then we edited their segments together.  The students didn’t just want to discuss cyberbullying – they also wanted to include discussions about positive uses of technology, texting, Internet addiction, trash talking during online video game play and sexting.

We showed the video to the entire school and the Journalism class followed up with a survey and article in the school paper.  One surprising result was that almost 1/2 of the high school students who responded said they had received or sent a “sexting” message.

I was very impressed with how well the students handled themselves during the discussions and interviews.  We started with about 60 minutes of recorded tape and cut it down to 13 minutes – a challenge indeed.

Feel free to use it with your Digital Citizenship unit –

Valley Catholic High School Cyber Bulling Awareness from WatchOurSpirit on Vimeo.

Join the conversation

Voicethread Project: Reflections on educational technology.

Directions: Take a moment to browse through the quotes on the following VoiceThread slides. Choose one that speaks to you and reflect upon its meaning. Add your reflection to the slide by recording a comment with the phone feature, voice recording, webcam recording or by typing . Feel free to comment on more than one slide if you’d like. Thank you for participating.

Student reflections on blogging

changeAfter discussing an article about how the Obama administration is using technology to make a difference and encouraging community service, I asked my students in my 8th Grade and Computer Applications classes  to reflect on their experience of using technology to “Be the Change in The World”.  Here are a few responses taken from their blogs:

I don’t really know if I have changed the world all that much…  I’m just glad for a chance to help get the word out.  Hopefully this will help in some small way to change what’s going on.   ~Bree

Having this blog has shown me the power of the web. It is becoming more and more apparent that the web will become a very important tool for people all over, from high schoolers to Barack Obama. Even young children are just as web saavy as their parents. With the mass global population online we must use it to get information out to change the world, whether it be steroids and drug awareness, global warming, or recyclling. We must be the change we want to see in the world!  ~Taylor

Using blogs to tell others about abortion has really helped me think about how big of an issue this is. When children and teens of this day and age use the modern materials, such as the internet, to tell others about what they think on big issues in our world today, it gets people thinking about what they can do.  ~Emily

Creating and writing in a blog was interesting. I learned a lot from having one. I hope that my blog changes the world, its hard to say if it did. If my blog affected atleast one person that would make me satisfied. A lot of people use technology so it is smart to use technology a source to get through to people and change the world.  ~Ashley

Using technology to improve the world is very effective because many young people use it. Spreading news through technology will help change the world because when they see the serious problems that our world faces, they will hopefully be motivated to help out to make the world a better place for themselves and for future generations.  ~Sophia

I used this blog to get the word out about other fuels besides gasoline we can use. This experience was good, but because the blog was so infrequently visited it is hard to feel the word reached very many people.  ~Eddie

Using a blog is could be a smart way to change the world and spread your ideas. By using a blog, you can access the information about whatever the issue is at any time.  ~Marcus

Having a blog has been exciting and a relief to me. Exciting in the sense that I met new people who commented on my blog and I learned how to manage a blog. A relief, because I feel like I’ve helped at least one person out there dealing with cancer or family members with cancer, just as I am. I think that using technology is very useful in many ways: it can spread information very quickly, connect many different people, as well as be personally useful to the user. To be honest, I wish I could have had more time to work on this blog; it was probably one of favorite projects from this whole semester.  ~Vivian