What Do Students Want to Learn?

Isbister, Kathy

Educational Theory

What do students want to learn? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://teddintersmith.com/innovation-playlist/what-do-students-want-to-learn/

Summary: I found this link on the Innovation Playlist website, under the heading “Student-driven learning”. In the video, the State Superintendent for Public Instruction in Virginia details an idea a middle school Principal put into action. Students were asked to write down something they would like to learn on a post-it note. The notes were collected, and a few 30-minute blocks were set aside during the year to teach subjects students suggested such as “How to tie a bowtie” and “How to change a tire”. It was a small innovation, but a success because it opened conversations at the school about relevancy and engagement.

Evaluation: While the setting for this video is dry (a man at his desk), and the introduction is dry, it is brief and shares a powerful experiment conducted in one middle school. The speaker stresses that this activity did not have to happen frequently to be meaningful, and I think that is an important point. Students have a long memory for activities they enjoy, whether they happen frequently or not. If this particular experience is not recreated multiple times during the year, it does still demonstrate to students that they can ask for learning experiences that are personally relevant and there are resources available to provide the information they seek. While they may not always be able to have an individual lesson with an actual instructor on “how to tie a bowtie”, they can still see that this is a valid question someone felt it was worthwhile to answer, and if they have other information needs in the future they may seek out answers rather than just let those types of questions fade away.

What is the SAMR model of technology?

SAMR Model Musings

Schrock, K. (2013, November 21, 2013). SAMR model musings. Retrieved from http://blog.kathyschrock.net/2013/11/sarm-model-musings.html

Kathy Shrock has an innovative method of explaining the SAMR Model. She states, “My feeling is this model supports teachers as they design, develop, and integrate digital learning experiences that utilize technology to transform learning experiences. Along the continuum, the student engagement becomes more of the focus and students are then able to advance their own learning in a transformational manner.” Each part of the SAMR model is explained in detail and has pictures to further elucidate the model.

Understanding by Design

Hertz-Newman, Jenny


Bowen, Ryan S., (2017). Understanding by Design. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching. Retrieved May 2018 from https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/understanding-by-design/.

This is almost like a mini-class in the backwards design model for constructing courses and units of study.  It reminds me of standards based planning/instruction in which instruction is based on the goal of students mastering the standard and lesson follows from that end goal.  This site has both text and video and the main aspects of backwards design are broken down clearly and in an interesting way.  There are also lesson planning templates and ideas for assessment.  I appreciate the focus on design for understanding and critical thinking in this model.


Love the Library: Make It a Game

Post by Lora Poser-Brown
Squires, T. (2016). “Engaging students through gamification.” American libraries. March 1, 2016. https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2016/03/01/engaging-students-through-gamification/
Overview: After instituting a game based library reading and writing program, the school library attained an 80% student participation level. Since the program was entirely voluntary, the success has been attributed to the opportunity to compete, collaborate, build non-classroom relationships with school staff, and the simple please of playing a game.
Analysis: The school library made itself a relevant, enjoyable place to be by making learning and exploring the library a game. While creating the game was labor intensive, the success was well worth the effort in staff eyes. Furthermore, the improvement in school morale and quality relationships has been viewed positively by the school community.

Will Your Students Be Ready For College?

Jeselyn Templin


Cahoy, E. S. (2002). Will your students be ready for college? Connecting K-12 and college standards for information literacy. Knowledge Quest, 30(4), 12-15.

Summary: This article talks about the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) standards and the teacher librarian’s role in helping to implement them in all levels of education. The subject is presented with the intention of encouraging the reader to evaluate the educational standards in their immediate vicinity in order to make sure their students are getting what they need in the long run, not just to pass standardized tests.

Evaluation: This article has two downsides. First, it was published in 2002 which makes it the oldest source I explored for this class. Second, it is very specific about the ACRL standards and a few other sets of standards, all of which are rather old and not widely used anymore. However, the spirit of the article is relevant to teacher librarians of any generation. Teacher librarians are an important part of the educational system, and can take the initiative to make sure their students are getting what they need from the educational system.

Connected learning

Ramos, Tara


Connected Learning.  (n.d.). Connected learning principles.  Retrieved from



Connected Learning Research Network and Digital Media & Learning Research Hub.  (2007). Connected learning infographic.  Retrieved from http://connectedlearning.tv/infographic
Summary: The Connected Learning website provides many resources for teachers who are interested in learning in the 21st century.  The principles spell out what connected learning means for both students and teachers.  For students, connected learning is interest-powered, takes place in the context of peer interaction, and academically oriented.  For teachers, instructional design principles are also provided.  Connected learning environments must be constructed around a shared purpose for both students and adults.  Everyone is learning around a common set of interests and contributing to a common purpose as they learn.  They are also production-centered, meaning that students are actively involved in creation of digital and physical products.  And lastly, they are openly-networked so that the flow of knowledge has no boundaries and students are linked to groups, institutions, etc. beyond the school walls in their learning.  
Evaluation: I find the Connected Learning principles both exciting and daunting. When I read them, I think “Yes, yes, yes!!! This is what should be happening in schools!,” the keyword being should.  My on-the-ground experience in schools is that we are far from existing in these connected learning environments.  Teachers are bound by educational policies that encourage them to continue to be the holders of information that they must transport into students’ brains.  There have been some small shifts to these type of ideas in recent years, but teachers are still not getting the support that they need in order to become the designers of instructional experiences like those described here. Nonetheless, theses principles are very useful for teacher librarians who work with teachers and can help to build this type of learning environment for at least part of the school year.