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Yearlong Plans for Professional Growth

Engaged Learning

This month our focus will be on becoming familiar with Engaged Learning.

As we move into the 21st century and practice designing standards based curriculum, we also need to keep in mind practices that will engage our students in the learning process. We are discovering that the traditional models of teaching and learning are not necessarily effective for our students. So now we're looking at new ways of addressing learning in ways that involve the use of technology to engage students in the learning process.

Barbara Means (SRI International) identified the following variables to be indicative of effective teaching and learning:

  1. Children are engaged in authentic and multidisciplinary tasks
  2. Assessments are based on students' performance of real tasks
  3. Students participate in interactive modes of instruction
  4. Students work collaboratively
  5. Students are grouped hererogeneously
  6. The teacher is a facilitator in learning
  7. Students learn through exploration

These 7 variables have been expanded on and reorganized to create "Indicators of Engaged Learning". (http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/edtalk/newtimes.htm). You can find more information about these indicators by reading the article Plugging In-choosing and using educational technology, by Beau Fly Jones, Gilbert Valdez, Jeri Nowakowski, and Claudette Rasmussen (http://www.ncrel.org/sdrs/edtalk/toc.htm).

To see how you would rate yourself as a teacher who implements engaged learning, you can go to the NCREL site and take the Learning with Technology Profile. This profile is based on the 8 indicators and you will answer questions based on how you organize your classroom. After taking the profile, you will be shown a chart of your strengths and weaknesses in each of the 8 indicator areas. Try the profile and see what it shows.

We have organized some other resources on engaged learning for you to read on your own. You can find these at the Resource link for this class. We'd like to encourage you to visit these sites and explore what's new with engaged learning and consider how the use of technology will impact decisions that teachers make within the classroom.

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