I believe that in addition to one of the most equitable pedagogies, PBL is the most student-centered and fosters authentic inquiry. Through giving students an authentic task to complete, students engage in solving a problem or exploring a project aligned to not only important content, but also 21st century skills. If we truly want students to engage in fostering 21st century skills, then we must put them in a learning environment that truly values it. Educators value my workshops, as they are modeled after PBL practices and help teachers design, manage, and assess quality PBL projects.
GBL is not only using games to teach, it is a process where students engage in scenarios that demand critical thinking and problem-solving skills to learn significant content and skills. Pairing games with instruction can provide another opportunity for student engagement. Similarly, incentives, avatars, a need to know, and technology are just some of specific components that it takes to “gamify” an unit of instruction. I constantly seek innovative schools and educators to engage in this learning model with me.
As an experienced online educator, I have seen the potential it can have for all students, whether that student has been bullied in school or needs extension and an extra challenge. I believe in the competency-based pathways and personalization that online education offers. I am excited with the possibilities of digital learning, and use this excitement in building school and teacher capacity for quality online and blended learning.
Through my experiences in the classroom, I have witnessed as well as worked against the marginalization of students, whether through school culture or curriculum and instruction. I am committed to equity for all students and continually implement and value the tenants of culturally responsive teaching. Everything that occurs in the school should be aligned to culturally responsive teaching, and I have worked with teachers to accomplish this goal.
Technology is a tool, and thus needs to be picked intentionally and carefully for effective instructional use. Whether it is a tool for student collaboration, direct instruction, or formative assessment, technology integration can be an effective way to increase student engagement in the classroom. I’ve utilized best practices both in my brick-and-mortar and blended classroom and helped teachers do the same.
Learning should be targeted and explicit in the classroom. Assessment and instruction should be clearly aligned to standard. Student and Teacher should know the goal as well as how they are going to reach that goal. In addition, the teacher should aim higher than the language of the standard, as students deserved to be challenged and pushed. I work with teachers to hone and improve their work to ensure targeted and differentiate student achievement.