4 stages of edtech integration from a student perspective

Britten, Shannon


Bibliographic Citation: Heick, T. (2018). 4 stages of edtech integration from a student perspective. Teach Thought. Retrieved from: https://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-stages-the-integration-of-technology-in-learning/

Summary: This article talks about the 4 stages of integrating technology into learning, and how to best design learning experiences too take advantage of the available technology.

Evaluation/Opinion: I like how this article moves through and explores the 4 stages of technology integration, but also stresses that these are not a linear framework to take students through each school year. Rather, Heick stresses that teachers should evaluate the  proficiency of their students and the level of technological integration that the learning experience calls for. The goal is to leverage the technology and the users abilities into a self directed learning experiences. The article also interprets the main points in an infographic, which I really appreciate as a visual learner.

Is It Project-Based Learning, Maker Education, or Just Projects?

Jess Peterson


Gerstein, J. (2013, October 22). Is It Project-Based Learning, Maker Education or Just Projects? Retrieved from https://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/is-it-project-based-learning-maker-education-or-just-projects/

This article examines and explains the differences between PBL, Maker Ed, and just throwing in projects. The author makes the claim that most often, even though educators are attempting to tout their activities as PBL or otherwise, mostly, projects are really just an activity that follows direct instruction, and don’t include any form of inquiry whatsoever. She goes on to outline several conditions that must be in place in order for PBL to truly exist, and if all, or at least most conditions aren’t met, then you simply have a project, and inquiry is missing.

I liked this article because she was particularly blunt as well as clear about what makes something qualify as PBL versus what doesn’t. She carefully examines the conditions she claims are essential for PBL to occur, and thoroughly explains how educators can meet these criteria. I also really liked that she included several resources throughout, in case anyone needed or wanted further reading about the various subtopics she brings up.

The 6 C’s

Gifford, Kellsie


The 6 C’s. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://thelearningexchange.ca/projects/the-6-cs/

The Learning Exchange provides wonderful videos to help illustrate the concepts of the 6 C’s of education. From here, teachers and students can collaborate with one another as they use technology to drive innovation.

I appreciated this website because it provides a free source of information for educators to share their resources and collaborate with others.

What the Heck is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Van Duzee, Alyssa

ID (Inquiry and Design)

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2016, August 11). What the heck Is inquiry-based learning? Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-heck-inquiry-based-learning-heather-wolpert-gawron

Inquiry-based learning is something that can be difficult for teachers to do because it involves giving up power and control and allowing students to take the reigns. This articles breaks down the steps necessary to bring this type of design and learning into a classroom and library. It is a very basic overview, but it gives a good sense of what inquiry-based learning entails.

This would be a great article to have staff read at the beginning of the school year because it makes something that can become very difficult seem relatively easy. It breaks down the process into 4 manageable steps. If teachers were to get on board with this, it would make an easy transition into co-teaching and ultimately deeper and wider student learning.

Design Thinking Visual

Kinsella, Jason

ID (Inquiry and Design)

An introduction to design thinking. (2018). AARK Group. Retrieved from https://www.arrkgroup.com/thought-leadership/an-introduction-to-design-thinking/

This is the best visual I have found related to design thinking. This comes from AARK Group, which a consulting firm, not an educational organization. As teachers, we know the power of visuals, but visuals related to lesson design can often be confusing, especially for students. I think this visual perfectly explains the design thinking process, and teachers may want to use this as a guide when creating a visual to post in their classroom. What makes this visual so effective, in my opinion, is the full circle of arrows, then a smaller, second circle of arrows representing the “Evaluate” stage. This visually explains the iterative nature of design thinking clearly and simply. I have seen some confusing visuals for design thinking out there, but this one represents the idea perfectly.


How Design Thinking Can Empower Young People

Kinsella, Jason

ID (Inquiry and Design)

How design thinking can empower young people. (2013). Edutopia. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/video/how-design-thinking-can-empower-young-people

When it comes to design thinking, it’s helpful to see it in action. This eight-minute video documents teens who are living in a homeless shelter engage in a collaborative design thinking challenge to improve the space and services at the shelter.

I really like the way they frame design thinking as a three-step process: Dream it. Design it. Do it. I think this simplifies what may seem like a complicated process into something easily understandable. However, it is important for viewers not to forget about the reflective and iterative aspects of design thinking.

Lastly, this example of teens completing a design thinking challenge shows teens engaged in a real world problem–an essential element to the design thinking concept. This is a great resource, in my opinion, for anyone first learning about student-centered, inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Making personalized learning projects possible

Sasaki, Lori


Schwartz, K. (2017, December 4). Tips and Tricks to keep kids on track during genius hour projects. KQED Mindshift. Retrieved from https://ww2.kqed.org/mindshift/2017/12/04/tips-and-tricks-to-keep-kids-on-track-during-genius-hour-projects/?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20171210Mindshift&mc_key=00Qi000001WzPsREAV

This article outlines one teacher’s advice and experience around Genius Hour, or “20 percent time projects.” The teacher shares anecdotes and examples (including a student video) of the challenges and successes in implementing this kind of student-centered learning.

There is not a comprehensive explanation of the entire project, however the article touches upon various important stages, such as defining the problem, staying organized, and assessment. The tangible tools and tips (with lots of links to resources) for managing personalized learning projects helped to make this kind of learning process seem both inspiring and realistically do-able.

Pop culture in the school library

Goering, Patricia


Friese, E. E. G. (2008). Popular culture in the school library: Enhancing literacies traditional and new. School Libraries Worldwide, 14(2), 68-82. Retrieved from http://libaccess.sjlibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lls&AN=502950913&site=ehost-live&scope=site

Friese argues that buying pop culture books, including books on Sponge Bob, X-men, Disney princesses, etc., which educators often write of as not “literary,” actually encourages reading, comprehension and a variety of literacies. She gives six specific reasons including the significant role pop culture plays in reaching today’s learners, as well as building both traditional and 21st century literacies.

I like the idea of students seeing the school library as “a place for me” as well as giving them choice and encouraging a love of reading for fun, not just as an educational endeavour, but I think this sort of reasoning could also be taken too far to the other extreme as well.

‘Personal Learning Environments’ Focus on the Individual

Amdahl, Scott


Ash, K. (2013). ) ‘Personal Learning Environments’ Focus on the Individual’ Personal learning environments’ emerging as K-12 trend to watch. Education Week. Retrieved from: https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/05/22/32el-personallearning.h32.html


This article discusses the integration of a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) into the K-12 classroom. It discusses the benefits of distributing classroom information along with outside resources in a personalized format for each student. These benefits include the easy transmission of classroom information such as the expected standards, and the transparency of sharing their work with their parents. It also discusses potential drawbacks of giving students unlimited internet access and the requirement that each student have a device that allows them to create a PLE.


This is a light toned article that promotes the benefits of using a PLE as an organizational tool both for the students and for the organization. One of the many advantages that the author points out is the ability to educate the students while helping them craft their PLE’s. For example, teachers are able to teach literacy and website evaluation techniques.

For a quick review of what a PLE is, and how it might be integrated in the classroom, this is a nice article.


Tags: Instructional Design, Collaborative Learning, Personal Learning Environment

KQED Mindshift: How To Ease Students Into Independent Inquiry Projects

Gould, Molly


Mackenzie, T. & Bathurst-Hunt, R. (March 1, 2018). How to ease students into independent inquiry projects. Mindshift.  KQED. Retrieved from: https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/50620


This article and its accompanying chart describe the spectrum along which inquiry-based education can occur, from structured, to controlled, to guided and, finally, to free inquiry. In structured inquiry the educator leads the one inquiry from start to finish. In controlled inquiry, the teacher provides the questions asked, the resources and assigns the project, deliverable or assessment. In guided inquiry, the educator assigns the subject and asks the essential question, but the students have more freedom and autonomy to choose resources and design projects. Free inquiry completes the spectrum, where student initiate the inquiry, choose their own topics, select resources and design their own projects or performance tasks.



As a term and a concept, inquiry is often thrown around with little explanation of what it is or how it works. As a relatively new public school educator, inquiry-based learning has often seemed to me to be a lofty constructivist ideal without much place in real-world classrooms. At least part of the reason for this is that there’s very little training in how to implement inquiry-based learning experiences. This article provides a very useful framework for where to begin, depending on teacher interest and ability, as well as student readiness.