Engaged Learning and Technology
Engaged learning combines many important elements. Explore each of these aspects to learn how you can activate the learning environment.

Problem Solving
How much food does it take? Why do they swim that way? Why does it look like that? Let's find out! Let's use technology! Problem-solving involves questioning and seeking alternative options.
Technology & Problem Solving
Technology resources and skills can be applied to a range of problem solving environments.
  • Data Collection
  • Data Organization
  • Problem Analysis
  • Communicating
    • writing, drawing, diagrams, charts, graphs, spreadsheets
Productivity Tools
Although Microsoft Office is a popular tool for all ages, consider exploring the productivity tools designed specifically for children. For example, ClarisWorks for Kids contains tools and templates specifically for young children. Students can write, draw, organize and analyze information, and even create a graph.
  • Microsoft Office or
  • Word Processing - Claris for Kids
  • Database - Filemaker
  • Spreadsheet - Crunchers
  • Graphing - Graph Club
  • Math/Science Specialties
Use productivity tools in conjunction with Internet-based data sites. For example, Science Experiments provides science experiments for elementary and middle school students.

ClarisWorks for Kids

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Problem Solving
  • Brainstorm ways that you could more effectively integrate productivity tools into an existing project.

Information Processing
Information processing involves students in gathering, selecting, evaluating, analyzing, creating, and communicating data, resources, and ideas. We've developed a new set of Ws to help explore information processing.
  • Watching
  • Wondering
  • Webbing
  • Wiggling
  • Wrapping
  • Waving
  • Wishing
  • become observers of their environment
  • seek action and change
  • become in tune with the world around them

Explore topics before deciding on a focal point. Ask students to examine online news.

  • focus on exploration of ideas
  • involves surprise, curiosity, doubt
  • brainstorm, discuss, reflect
The challenge is keeping an open mind. Provide students with a few good starting points.
  • locate info, connect ideas
  • one strand of information leads to new questions and ideas
  • select relevant information and organize into clusters
Strands and threads form woven information networks. Use software to help students organize their ideas.
  • twist and turn information looking for clues, ideas, and perspectives
  • evaluate the quality of information
  • seek advice from peers and experts
Wigglers often think with their minds and bodies. Wiggling involves evaluating information.
  • Authority:
    • Who says?
  • Objectivity:
    • Is the information biased?
  • Reliability:
    • Is the information accurate?
  • Relevance:
    • Is the information helpful?
Use Internet resources to help students identify experts (Ask An Expert) they might contact to help answer questions. The Internet contains some excellent information evaluation tools such as the Cyberbee Evaluation.
  • apply and synthesize information
  • originate new ideas, create models, form plans
  • form products by interlacing strands
Weaving requires the highest levels of thinking. Ask students to compare and contrast information from various sources. For example, they might explore the information about the tobacco industry at the American Lung Association and PBS. Use a chart to show the comparisons.

Weaving: Comparisons

  • package their ideas, solution, communications
  • wind, fold, surround, embrace their product
Gifts are more fun when they're wrapped! For example, students created community involvement web projects at the Nonprofit Prophets site.
Students can also use software packages such as KidPix, HyperStudio, and Imagination Express to produce final products.

Imagination Express

  • share your ideas, try out new approaches, ask for feedback
  • develop waves to gain the attention of their audience
Waving a flag, volunteering at a soup kitchen, or publishing in an ezine are all ways to share ideas. Students could post their music project at the Young Composers or find an address at Switchboard and send a letter to a person or company.
  • think about how the project went
  • consider possibilities for the future
  • reflect on the project
Without a wish, things will never change. Help students find epals to share with at places like Kid Link.

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Information Processing

Do you explore all of the steps with your students? Think about a project that your class recently completed. Which of the following areas could you expand?

  • Watching
  • Wondering
  • Webbing
  • Wiggling
  • Wrapping
  • Waving
  • Wishing
Collaboration involves working together to address a problem, simulate an event, or answer a question. At the Virtual Congress site students across the nation collaborate like the real government.
Students can also work together to create projects. For example, they might build a HyperStudio stack to review a field trip, event, or process. The example on the right shows a project where students created a HyperStudio stack after an outdoor education event. They scanned pictures and recorded their voices.
Chaining is a popular way to create collaborative projects. Each student contributes to the project. In the example on the right, each student adds a card to a HyperStudio story.
There are many areas where chaining can be fun:
  • Writing - add a paragraph
  • Timelines - add an event
  • Drawing - add to picture
  • Experiments - along a river




Sharing with others is half the fun!Keep in mind that there are many ways for students to communicate. There are also many technologies that can be used for communication.
  • letters
  • email
  • web pages
  • videos
The TESAN project involved students from throughout the world. By sharing their projects, students learned about another place, but they also were motivated to learn and share more about where they live.
Consider projects that involve experts, community members, or other adults. For example, this Science Fair Project involved a real scientist as part of the project.

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Think about ways that you could add a communication component to an existing project.

Authentic Material
Authentic resources are important in learning. Some examples are shown below:
  • Letters
  • Diaries, Journals, Logs
  • Data
  • Documents
  • Speeches
  • Videos
The links below access some good starting points for authentic information.

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Authentic Materials

Explore authentic information resources on the Internet. Brainstorm a simple activity that would incorporate authentic resources. Remember, you can always find good resources in the news at CNN or USA Today.

Real World Fun!
Think of ways to link your activities to the real world. Use real-world resources, materials, and experiences. Don't just read about it. Do it and share it with others. For example, kids in Hawaii learned about the Green Sea Turtle and shared their experiences in a ThinkQuest adventure.


Projects are a wonderful way to engage learner. There are many types of projects.
  • Classroom Projects
  • Cross-Grade Projects
  • School Projects
  • Community Projects
  • Online Projects
Use the following sites to explore some project possibilities.
Collaborative Projects
  • On Your Own
  • Find a Partner
  • Join a Group Project
  • Coordinate a Project
On Your Own
  • You're in control
    • You're alone with problems
    • You're missing the power of interaction
Ask An Astronaut
Find a Partner
  • Do you have shared goals?
  • Are your classes compatible?
  • Who will maintain pages?
    • firewalls, posting problems
Advantages: Small Group
  • You have support & interaction
  • Management is easy
    • Your "N" is more than one
    • You can do comparisons
    • Your students have an audience

Advantages: Large Group

  • You have lots of data
  • You have more perspectives
    • More people, more problems
    • More people, more ideas

Create a Project

  • How will people join?
  • How will you recruit?
  • Who will manage and coordinate pages?

Dive for Pearls

Create Pearl Projects
Explore the following project. What do you think?

What kind of collaborative, online project would engage your students?