Monday, May 12, 2014

Collaborating and Curating in Mark Engstrom's Class: Exemplary Use of 1:1 to Engage Students

from Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, author of
 the "Langwitches" blog 
 Some of the most powerful digital learning experiences result when educators hit the "sweet spot" found within the intersections of technology skills, pedagogical expertise, and content knowledge. Some of the keys to finding this sweet spot would include the use of technology to:

  • provide opportunities for students to collaborate with peers;
  • provide opportunities for students to contribute ongoing, meaningful expression and voice;
  • provide timely and relevant feedback to students throughout a lesson;
  • plan for variety and choice in learning tasks assigned to students;
  • allow for student creativity and choice in demonstrating what has been learned.
Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano, author of the Langwitches blog, features educator Mark Engstrom in her blog post about how he has completely redesigned his 8th grade Geography course utilizing both Google Apps and laptops in his classroom. In addition to sporting an impressive progression of technology use across the SAMR model, Engstrom has crafted an approach through which students collaboratively engage with lesson content. Teams of students are assigned responsibility for specific but engaging tasks during class, then as a summary activity, they curate from each others' work to create a meaningful construct of the lesson for themselves. This curation of student work not only provides students with the ability to create their own meaningful lesson summary, but also establishes a sense of value, importance, and authenticity for the tasks all students are assigned during class. 
   Mark Engstrom has found that "sweet spot" where both teacher and students actively engage, collaborate, and contribute to both the delivery of content and the evaluation of that content. By offering opportunities to collaborate while performing meaningful tasks that will benefit everyone in the room, Mr. Engstrom has developed an approach that seamlessly incorporates technology while providing every student with a purposeful role in the learning process. Bravo!