Educational Environment of the Future
Teachers will participate
in an Engaged Learning course. In this 13 week course participants will gain
a hands-on view of the validity of the Engaged Learning teaching method. In
order for the participants to "feel" the process they will be challenged to
create a learning environment of the future. As the learners progress through
the development of their future school there will be ongoing, constant teachable
moments which highlight the indicators of Engaged Learning and attributes of
Best Use of Technology.
The facilitator, Gina says,
"Welcome to the Engaged Learning Course. I am eager to work with you to develop
a valid, authentic project for you to incorporate into your curriculum. In order
to fully feel and grasp the Engaged Learning concept you will experience a shortened
version. We will begin with this method and I would ask you to post any thoughts
and comments in the bulletin board ,Journal section, that come to mind as you
work through the process. This journal experience will help all of us capture
what it feels like to work through the project. Since all of you posted your
reasons for wanting to take this course on the bulletin board and chatted with
me before our first class I know you have knowledge of how to use the programs.
Journals will be checked each week and recorded as part of your evaluation."
The facilitator explains
that the evaluation methods used for the course will be, journal responses on
the bulletin board, observations and note taking of group discussions and activities,
evaluation of project "parts" using rubrics developed by the groups
and instructor, and posting of final project.
Gina says, "I have
a challenge for you. The NFT and AFT are sponsoring a contest to design the
best learning environment to take our youth into the future. By "best"
I am referring to what research tells us is the most effective or successful
learning environment. It is my belief that you are the prime candidates for
such a challenge. Why would you want to get involved, you ask?-Some view our
schools as failing the youth of America. Low test scores and ineffective practices
are being brought into the spotlight. This is your chance to make a difference.
Another reason is because you may be chosen as one of the top 3 proposals. You
would be a paid consultant and educator to see the educational environment put
into action. Have you ever voiced the thought If I had my own school I wouldÖÖÖ?
What would you do? What questions would you need to answer to create this environment?"
John answers: "What
does the learning environment look like? Where is it? Who will attend?"
Mary says, "Is it a building? Is it a virtual environment?" Jerome
asks, "What is the mission? What is the curriculum? How do the students
Gina replies, "Great"
Let's look at the task again. You will be designing a learning environment of
the future. The project is defined on our site. Find the link for "Future
School Challenge" As a team, you will develop a short presentation for
the AFT and the NEA on the key components of your learning environment. Let's
see what you can come up with. I would like several teams
to investigate and prepare a presentation.
Now that you have selected
your groups what do you feel is then next step in developing your project?
We are going to brainstorm ideas that your team may wish
to investigate. Mary could you please record?"
The groups brainstormed
the following list of ideas:
|What We Want In Our Future Learning Environment
||What We Don't Want In Our Future Learning Environment
|students collaborating in groups to solve problems
|teachers moving between students as they learn and work
|teachers and students being challenged together
||ritualistic, mandated schedule
|an open atmosphere for learning
|students generate topics to study
||the state telling us what to do
|teaches as learners
|parents and community as experts
|teaching staff that is invigorated
|high tech facility that constantly changes to keep up with progress
Next the groups meet and
determine what path to take next. The facilitator circulates among all the teams
to assist as needed.
Harry says" OK, so
we want to look at alternative teaching and learning styles. How can we research
them?" Julie responds, " "I
know of a school on the web that is kind of like this-maybe we can email them
for some tips on what makes their school work" Juan
replies, "Governor Ryan wants a virtual school, we can look at the website for
that" Terry notes, "We can look online or in the library to see what they did
in the 60's for the "Open School" concept, or, "Modular Teaching". Peggy says,
"We can research what is being done in California and other progressive areas
Gina tells the group, "You
posed some options for investigating the information. On the website for this
class you will see a link for "Our Future School". There are some links that
may help you as you progress through your research. The Internet is open to
you for research. Behind you in the media room are all sorts of professional
materials for you to peruse as well." Please remember to have a recorder post
your ideas on the bulletin board by 6:54 for all to see.
Michael is asking, "We
want a staff that is exceptional but we don't know where to begin. Do you have
Gina replies, "It
sounds like you are asking How can we identify criteria for analyzing best practices
in teaching? What other questions does this bring to mind?"
Tome replies, "How
to come up with criteria to assess lessons and instructional methods?"
"I want to know which opportunities and styles have the most promise for
the future of educating youth?"
Gina responds, "Great-now
where can you go from here?"
Michael again, "We
need to look for models of teaching that we know have worked like problem-based
learning and critical thinking. We could use the Internet for that. Also, aren't
there teaching standards we can look at?"
Gina answers, "There
certainly are, and if you go to our class website under resources you will see
them. There are also some other links that may be helpful." Please be sure
to post your ideas on the bulletin board for all to see.
Megan begins, "We
already know that we want a "home" building for bringing staff and
students together for some face time. How about we talk with some architects
online to see what they suggest?" Billy says, "I like that, there
are books in the library on school architecture, too. I will check some out"
Agnes says, "Harold and I can come up with a list of things we think should
be in the building while you all are looking"
Gina says, "Your discussion
is centered around the physical structure. I see that you have come up with
some ways to find out what is currently being constructed or tried. Have you
considered asking what students may want in a building?
Haroldo comments, "There
are some links on our site I saw, we an go there to look."
Gina says, "All right
then, please be sure to post your ideas on the bulletin board for all to see."
Jerold asks, "What
are we going for here?" Tom answers, "How does learning impact students?"
Pamela next, "How have students learned the best?" Candy asks, "What
keeps kids engaged?" Anthony says, "What keeps staff invested?"
Gina asks, "You seem
interested in what is actually going to be taught and learned. Have
you considered ways in which you can get that information?
Tom says, "Yes, I
have a bunch of expert sites on educational impact on students. Lisa and Joan
are going to start with those" Meredith says, "There is a website
on that charter school we toured last year, I can look at it and email the principal,
too" "There are always the state and national standards, also. I can
get them online says John"
Gina responds, "Sounds
great, Please be sure to post your ideas on the bulletin board for all to see."
The facilitator gets the
attention of the small groups. "I saw some amazing things going on in each
of the groups and says, Now comes the challenge of creating a presentation for
the AFT and NEA. Each of your groups has worked on a key component of this new
learning environment. I would like you to review the ideas the other teams came
up with. Use the bulletin board to retrieve the information."
After reviewing the information
Gina asks, "How can we pull all the components together to create a presentation
for the AFT and NEA?
Jesebel, "Well, we
could each do a mini-presentation on just our part."
Clyde, "How about
we each do some web pages that are linked to the main page. That way the NEA
and AFT can revisit our work any time they want."
Samantha, I'll design the
opening page since I have been floating between groups"
The facilitator reminds
the group that Dreamweaver is loaded on all the computers. The participants
were required to take a class on Dreamweaver as a prerequisite so they all know
how to use it. She also reminds them she is available through email, phone and
during chat office hours for any assistance. Gina
reiterates the use of chat for the participants that are unable to physically
meet to work on the presentation.
With 20 minutes left to
go in class Gina says, "OK everyone, please go to the Journal section of
the bulletin board and post your response to tonight's work session. Please
include positives, constructive criticism, and suggestions for ways to enhance
the project. " Prior
to our next meeting I need you to read the article "Designing Great Rubrics"
and check out the following sites. Record notes of what you liked and didn't
like about the examples:
Gina says, "You have
done a wonderful job working on your project. As a classroom teacher I would
want to evaluate the work you put into the process as well as the final outcome.
I have passed out to you a blank rubric. Please take out the article I gave
you on rubrics and your notes on the sites. What I need from you now are criteria
you feel should be in the rubric for this project. Please form partners and
discuss these items."
After 20 minutes the teams
generate a list of criteria they wish to use. After a lively discussion as a
whole group they narrow the items down to four categories and determine the
attributes for each:
|| Missing Key Information, Experts Not Contacted, Online Resources Not
||Missing Key Information, Experts Contacted, Online Resources Utilized
||Complete Information, Experts Contacted, Online Resources Utilized
||Worked Independently, No Group Interaction, Contribute Little to Project
||Worked Together, Group Interacted Positively, Most Contributed to Project
||Worked Together, Group Interacted Positively, All Contributed Equally
||Information Incomplete, Web Page Not Functioning, Information Disorganized
||Information Incomplete, Web Page Functioned, Information Organized
||Information Complete, Web Page Functioned, Information Organized
The facilitator explains
that the rubric the group defined will be used to grade their work on the Educational
Environment of the Future project. The rubric will be posted on the site for
future reference. She will score the rubric for each team so that they can get
an idea of how the rubric works and how it relates to them. Rubrics will be
developed throughout the rest of the course for the Engaged Learning projects
the participants will be developing.
Gina says, "I would
like you to individually rate what you have completed on your project. Please
spend the next 15 minutes rating the work"
At the end of the time
period Gina called on participants to get their view of how the rubric worked.
In the discussion key ideas were brought up including: "The rubric helps
us see instantly the areas where we are weak", "Some of the attributes
do not work for all projects", "Now we know what to go back to and
fix". Gina responds, "That is great-you can see benefits of the rubric
and at the same time note that a standard rubric may not work for all and should
be edited accordingly".
Over the next two class
sessions the participants worked on finalizing their projects. They used the
Chat and email to keep in contact with each other and the facilitator between
class meetings. The participants presented their projects on the 5th night of
class. The projects were diverse in presentation and content. All of them contained
aspects which were engaging to the learners and teachers.
The next few class sessions
will be used to break down all the parts of the project so that the participants
can respond to the components such as: Hook, Authentic Task, Learner Outcomes,
Best Use of Technology. Through each of the sessions participants will analyze
what is best for each attribute. Working in teams that they have selected for
the project the groups will develop each component with many revisions.
The remaining class sessions
will allow the participants to develop the final part of their own projects
and prepare to use them in the classroom.
Created for the Fermilab
LInC program sponsored by Fermi National
Accelerator Laboratory Education Office
and Friends of Fermilab, and
funded by United States Department of Energy,
Illinois State Board of Education,
North Central Regional Technology in Education
Consortium which is operated by North Central
Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL), and the National
Author(s): Barbara Holdiman, Gina
Keifer, and Lucianne Sweder
Lincoln-Way High School District 210, New Lenox, IL
Lockport High School District 205, Lockport, IL
Professional Development Alliance/Regional Office of Education for Will and
Grundy/Kendall Counties, Joliet, IL
Learning Technology Center One South, Joliet, IL
Created: February 25, 2001 - Updated: February 27, 2001