ITSC

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Instructional Technology Strategies Conference (ITSC) - February 17-19, 2008




Engaging Students with Authentic Technology Projects

Sun., 2/17/08 7:30-8:30 pm

Colette Cassinelli - Blog: http://www.edtechvision.org Email: colette@edtechvision.org

Embrace 21st century strategies to create an instructional learning environment that moves away from teaching isolated computer skills towards an integrated thematic approach. Come learn how you can combine everyday productivity tools with Web 2.0 to support curriculum integration and collaboration.




The National Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S) recommends that educators establish new learning environments that provide real world opportunities for students to utilize current information and technology resources (ISTE, 2007).

According to The American Youth Policy Forum (2000) instruction in today’s high schools must change. Disengagement from the learning process is a widespread problem in high schools as students do not perceive how lessons are relevant to their lives.

The American Youth Policy Forum reports that lecture style classes continue to dominate classroom instruction and content is divorced from the real world. Schools need to embrace new strategies for learning based on current research of how students learn, implement effective uses of technology in the classroom, and develop “21st Century Skills” while maintaining a rigorous academic curriculum (Burkhardt et al., 2003 http://www.ncrel.org/engauge).

It takes vision and planning to engage students in authentic learning experiences. Teachers must identify which instructional strategies are most effective and understand how to infuse technology into lessons with real world applications.




venn.jpgInstead of asking the question “What technology skills must students have to face the 21st century?” should we not be asking “What thinking and literacy skills must students have to face the 21st century?” These skills are not tied to any particular software or technology-type, but rather aim to provide students with the thinking skill and thus the opportunity to succeed no matter what their futures hold.” Justin Medved, Dennis Harter

Curriculum is designed from the best practice approaches to teaching and learning found in Understanding by Design

The Essential Questions for the 21st Century Learner are:

  • How do you know information is true?
  • How do you communicate effectively?
  • What does it mean to be a global citizen?
  • How do I learn best?
  • How can we be safe?

These questions speak to thinking, critically evaluating, analyzing, and communicating. They emphasize the value in responsible behavior and knowing yourself as a learner. http://newliteracy.wikispaces.com/




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Career Unit - Based on John Holland's six personality traits


Goals: critically evaluating, analyzing, communication

Work Samples:

Make a PhotoShow Full Size


Career Resources:


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Lunch Nutrition and Recycling Unit


Goals: analyzing, communication, evaluating

Work Samples




Nutrition / Waste Recycling Resources



Other Classroom Activities:



  • Valiant Pride: New student edition - a newspaper that my students designed for new incoming students (samples:


  • BE SAFE ONLINE! Projects made by students to discuss online safety (including chat rooms, cyber bullying, online profiles, photo sharing, etc)
    • Wiki to store document sources used in projects
    • Samples of projects made on blogs, Flickr, and Google presentations (work in progress)

  • Curriculum Review Quizzes - Note: action buttons and hyperlinks do not work on slideshare - you must download the PowerPoint first







Note: Some of the lessons in this session are based on activities that I designed for my Action Research Project for my MA in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. Three complete thematic units are located at http://cadres.pepperdine.edu/ar/c9/Cassinelli/arp.htm



Works Cited


  1. American Youth Policy Forum http://www.aypf.org/
  2. Best Jobs for the 21st Century, 4th Edition by Michael Farr. ©2006 JIST Publishing, Inc.
  3. Curriculum 2.0 http://newliteracy.wikispaces.com/http://newliteracy.wikispaces.com/http://newliteracy.wikispaces.com/
  4. enGauge 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age (Burkhardt, G., Monsour M., Valdez, G., Gunn, C., Dawson, M., Lemke, C., et al., 2003) North Central Regional Educational Laboratory and the Metiri Group, http://www.ncrel.org/engauge
  5. National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS*S) http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/For_Students/NETS_S.htm


Wikispaces