Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools


Understanding the “new type of learner” becomes challenging only when an educator does not want to develop along with the students. With technology, bridging the gap between all types of learners is becoming more comprehensive and accommodating because learning now can be personalized and  manageable at the same time for educators within a classroom. For my students, we are a one-to-one school with  constant professional development to make sure retention and preparation for our students is top priority. Educating the whole student is our mission and vision for the school is to be a 21st century learning environment.

Blended learning has become the foundation within each discipline at Marin Catholic (MC). Google docs has replaced Microsoft word within our Macinstosh platformed base which has saved on cost and excuses for “no homework.” TED talks and other video presentation has helped in creating a more inclusive environment with our students because this allows students to help in facilitating the pace of the class and have true ownership. The educational resources provided for our students has improved the bridge between those students who enter needing resources to level their learning average to now normalizing their retention and habits of scholarship.

Even in my Art classes students have more authority and flexibility to lead a class project and present their concept, progression of project, and final artwork before the class as leader and teacher for the day. Group projects allows the students to be more of a design firm instead of a classrooms which gives them real life experiences due to the many tools they can use to formalize a final assignment. Constant 3 minute presentations are given as final grading with images and even video showing the process in which they used to execute their masterpiece. Curriculum across the board is a staple within the core of MC classes. This platform in which Siemens (2008) states does allow education to become more engaging and exciting for both educator and student. For the educator, reaching the majority of their students brings satisfaction and joy to know the percentages of students retaining what is learned continues to increase. As for the students, being prepared for society and higher education builds their confidence to continue finding their voice in todays world to help in putting together the puzzle of manifesting that utopia we all aspire to create.

Siemens, G. (2008, January). Learning and knowing in networks: Changing roles for educators and designers. ITForum.

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6 responses to “Engaging Learners with New Strategies and Tools

  1. Excellent post, Your first sentence struck a cord with me”Understanding the “new type of learner” becomes challenging only when an educator does not want to develop along with the students” I see this all the time when instructors want to do things the “traditional” way. This is a major frustration of mine and I do think that it is a mind set that permits exclusion. The use of technology, I believe, opens up more opportunities for students.

    I did have a quick question in regards to your graphic. You have placed Podcasts under the communication category, is there a reason for that? I have always thought of podcasts as content but maybe I am missing an element of the podcast. Thanks for your post.

    • Kayle,

      Thanks for the comments and response. It’s funny you asked that question regarding podcasts associated more with content and not communication. I battled with that as well while making my graphic. However, recently in our school, different teachers have prescribed students to make their own podcast regarding content within a club they have created, class or project. Many other teachers are now starting to have students create podcasts for final projects instead of exams and using them as content for the next group of students. These are setup in different formats, meaning some teachers allow students to use podcasts in their collaborative group settings or individually. Regardless, it is becoming more of a common creative component in the blended classrooms.

  2. What is the newest technological tool you have utilized or thought you could utilize for edtech classes?

    • Ashley, I am researching and preparing my classes to use and create podcasts. As an art teacher, I am trying to balance the introduction of digital application with traditional art form because both are vital and important. This being said, we constantly have critique within our classes and my goal is to have students select famous works of art or artists that appeal to them and present that artist to the class. With this project, I am trying to figure out a way to create a podcast for the students to do a quarterly commentary or introduction of new contemporary artist and compare them to classical or famous artist from any genre. Hopefully, I will be able to pull this off.

  3. Hi Orin,
    I really like your artistic graphic organizer. I agree that the educator needs to grow along with the students. In today’s society, students are far more progressed digitally than many educators. I say this because when I was a Technology Instructor, many “old school” educators did not want to change. It is so important to offer the students the most progressive methods to learning in order to maximize their potential.

    • I truly agree Trisch. This is why ed tech is so vital in education today because I feel us as specialists can police the way ed tech is introduced and married to our academic environments. Cyber discipline is vital for students and teachers alike. Within that realm of cyber discipline comes the respect and boldness to challenge the parameters by exhausting the possibilities using technology, hence progressive methods in learning. I think all these facets together will help the potential that ed tech can create within our educational system flow more seamlessly and adaptable.

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