Investigating Engaged Learning and
Best Use of Technology


Completion of Introduction to Project Lesson


To learn the indicators of engaged learning
To identify the indicators of engaged learning in a project
To learn the indicators of high-technology performance
To identify the indicators of high-technology performance in a project


This lesson is important because the better the students understand the indicators of engaged learning, the better their projects/units will be.

Do you really know engaged learning or do you just think you know engaged learning?

Our experience working with participants in the LInC classes has made us aware that there are multiple definitions of engaged learning in classrooms today. We have found that many aspects of engaged learning are familiar to teachers. We seem to adopt what we can readily use in our classrooms. Engaged learning is more than just an interesting and fun activity for students to do. Engaged learning is more than just group activities. Engaged learning puts the student in the driver's seat and requires the teacher to shift roles. You are now the facilitator of learning rather than dictating the learning process.

LInC has adopted a very specific definition of engaged learning, which was developed by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory.

The following lesson will guide you through engaged learning. Pay careful attention to the indicators because the success of your project depends upon how well you include them.

In the Introduction to Project Lesson we took a look at the "I Want to be an American Citizen" project and identified the effective instructional elements in this project. These elements are often called the indicators of engaged learning. Engaged learning is a shift from traditional definitions of learning to a form of learning in which the students are focused on a challenging, real-life task. The task is student-directed and highly collaborative.

Research in engaged learning and technology has been conducted by North Central Regional Educational Laboratory (NCREL). To gain a better understanding of this approach, read Plugging In. Pay particular attention to Table 1, the Indicators of Engaged Learning and Table 2, the Indicators of High-Technology Performance.

Use the two tables from Plugging In or the Project Rubric to identify the indicators of engaged learning and the indicators of high-technology performance in the project titled "What Made Catherine So Great?"

How is assessment performance-based, ongoing and seamless?

How is this project an example of the best use of technology?

How is the task multidisciplinary?

What is the role of the student in this project?

These are great questions to help participants to focus on the important aspects of project design. You might want to assign these questions for the CMC or use them for topics for your weekly chats.

The more discussion you have, the better. Give the participants a chance to articulate their understanding of engaged learning as revealed in the project. This discussion is your chance to make sure that no misconceptions are present. Partnering can be facilitated by e-mail or face-to-face arrangements. In face-to-face classes you might have the students partner up and make a list of the indicators they found in the projects. While sharing, make a master list for the class to refer to in their discussion. Another possible question for class discussion would be to ask students, "What was the most effective part of the project?"

Remember, not every indicator of engaged learning will be found in every project. However, the more indicators that are present in a project, the more engaging the project will be.

Look on the assignment page to find the due date of this assignment.

Specify a due date on the assignment page.

Before participants can accomplish the assignment in the next lesson (Project Elements), they will have to be able to transfer files. Let your participants know what program you want them to transfer their files and provide a lesson on uploading their work.

What to send: The answers to the questions above.

Where to send: Post your responses as indicated by your facilitator.