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Using digital technologies to support learner agency

What is learner agency?

Agency is having the power or capacity to act and make choices.

In a learner-centred environment, learners have agency over their learning and classroom systems serve the needs and interests of the learner.

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

  • Agency involves the initiative or self-regulation of the learner. Learners must have a belief that their behaviour and their approach to learning will make a difference for them in their learning context – in other words, a personal sense of agency. 
     
  • Agency is interdependent. The learner is not working in isolation doing their own thing and what suits them, there's connectedness.
     
  • Agency includes an awareness of the responsibility of ones own actions on the environment and on others. Every decision a learner makes, and action she or he takes, will impact on the thinking, behaviour or decisions of others – and vice versa.

Derek Wenmoth  

Learner agency at Hobsonville Point Secondary School

Claire Amos talks about fostering learner agency at Hobsonville Point Secondary School. She describes how a sense of ownership and taking responsibility for learning is incorporated into the culture of the school and into the programmes they offer.

Why develop learner agency?

In the 21st century, citizens need to be able to apply knowledge to solve complex problems, often in cross-disciplinary and collaborative settings. Citizens will need to be able to create new knowledge. Specialised knowledge and higher-order thinking skills will continue to be essential.

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

"As agentic learners, students use and strengthen key competencies."

Charteris, 2014  

  • Learner agency is embedded in The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies as “the capabilities that young people need for growing, working, and participating in their communities...The school curriculum should challenge students to use and develop the competencies across the range of learning areas and in increasingly complex and unfamiliar situations” (Ministry of Education, 2007, p. 38 ).
     
  • Key competencies are about developing the dispositions and sense of agency that not only empower the individual but help them better understand and negotiate the perspectives and values of others, contributing towards more productive and inclusive workplaces and societies” (NZC Online ).

What are the effects of learner agency?

"The more educators give students choice, control, challenge, and collaborative opportunities, the more motivation and engagement are likely to rise."

Toshalis & Nakkula, 2012  

Students take ownership of their learning: When learners link content to their passions and interests, they have a greater stake in what they are doing. When they set personal goals, the learning becomes theirs. This sense of ownership leads to increased motivation.

Self-regulating skills develop: When learners can make decisions on how to organise and reflect on their learning, they develop the ability to self-monitor. These self-management skills create lifelong learners.

Student voice emerges: When learners are able to make authentic contributions to their school, environment, or community through their learning, their voice finds expression leading to greater empowerment.

Susan Lee, teacher at Te Kura o Kutarere shares how using Storybird, a free digital story writing tool, has enabled students to become more self-motivated and proud of their work.

Using digital technologies to support learner agency

Digital pedagogy is based on three key concepts: ubiquity, agency, and connectedness.

  • Ubiquity refers to the pervasiveness of digital technologies. 
  • Agency refers to the power or capacity to act and make choices. 
  • Connectedness is about having a sense of being part of something that is bigger than one’s self.

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

Hampden Street School staff and students explain how they have been working towards their goal of building learner agency and using digital technologies to support that. Student, Lucy talks about her genius hour project and what she has learnt from it.

Digital technologies change the way students learn, the way teachers teach, and where and when learning takes place. Increasingly, mobile devices equip students to take charge of their own learning in a context where learning occurs anywhere, anytime, and with access to a wealth of content and interactive tools. 

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

Implications for schools

System-level implications

  • Review policies where the institution is the focus for resourcing and so on, and change the policies to reflect a learner-centred approach.

Implications for schools/centres

  • Review all structures based on institution-centred decision making, such as; age-based classes, access to resources and timetables that restrict access to subjects of choice.
  • Make greater provision for including and responding to student voices in all aspects of school operation.

Implications for teachers

  • Move from being the deliverer of curriculum to being the co-constructor and experienced learner.
  • Model all appropriate values and attitudes as a digitally-literate learner.

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

Creating a learner-centred environment

Build learner agency by creating a truly learner-centred environment, which is supported by applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles and utilising digital technologies.

Implications for teachers
  • Move from being the deliverer of curriculum to being the co-constructor and experienced learner.
  • Model all appropriate values and attitudes as a digitally-literate learner.

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

Understand how digital technologies can be used to:

  • support engagement, learning, and assessment
  • provide students with options to organise their own timetables
  • provide students with choices on how they engage with information, present information, and collaborate
  • support student equity and access to information.

Customising learning requires consideration of these things:

  • the individual pattern of abilities of the student
  • the specific goals and demands of the learning task
  • how to use digital technologies to support student access to information and ownership of their learning

Universal Design for Learning

"No single tool or method will be optimal for every student. By providing well-chosen options we can create learning environments that are student-centred for all students."

Rose & Gravel, 2012

To build learner agency in a student-centred classroom, focus on:

  • meeting the challenge of diversity
  • providing a differentiated curriculum
  • identifying the tools and technologies to support student access, engagement, and learning.

Providing access to information is essential to learning, but it is not enough for success. Successful learning requires the means for learning – the pedagogical goals, methods, materials, and assessments of instruction – to be accessible. UDL is a framework which ensures that the means for learning, and their results, are equally accessible to all students.

Designing a lesson or programme that is student-centred depends upon recognising the important variations among students that might make a lesson less accessible or less informative for some students.

Selecting the appropriate technologies to support learning

Effective customisation requires paying attention to aspects of the tasks that are construct relevant for learning and assessment.

Example – Developing students’ persuasive writing skills

You might assign an essay asking students to convince their audience that exercise is beneficial to health.

In this case, developing persuasive writing skills is construct relevant. Customising the assignment by allowing students to make a poster, create a skit, etc. on this same topic would interfere with a student’s opportunity to develop persuasive writing skills. Instead, offer customisable supports that remove barriers to writing and enable all students to achieve the learning goals. You might offer students the options of: 

  • utilising a graphic organiser
  • speech-to-text technology
  • word prediction. 

With these scaffolds in place, you can customise the assignment for different students, providing options that would allow both student and teacher to focus better on the construct relevant goal: developing the higher-level strategies of persuasive writing.

Curricular opportunities in the digital age

Support students to learn through authentic, relevant, real-world contexts, where their interests, skills, and the issues and opportunities within their own communities can form the basis for learning.

Involve students in the key aspects of decision making so they can fully experience the messiness of a real-world project, complete with the unexpected changes in direction, opportunities, and challenges that can arise.

Sustaining community-linked real-world learning opportunities often requires time for new partnerships and relationships to form between schools and people/groups, and teachers and learners need to become comfortable in new roles in order to support learners to have more agency and ownership of the direction and outcomes of their learning work 

Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching: A New Zealand perspective

The networked campground – Supporting learner agency at secondary school

This metaphor represents a more personalised approach to learning in which it is possible to get somewhere by a variety of different routes, at a speed that suits the individual.

The central goal is to develop certain competencies in everyone, to use – and build on – people’s strengths and interests, while also ensuring that everyone has the basics, via a system that allows people to follow personalised learning pathways.

Discipling and drafting or 21st century learning? NZCER

The centre of the campground picture is the place where students and their teacher/mentors plan their learning personal programmes. The camping ground could have several different “loop tracks” that lead to a variety of different learning experiences. These could involve: 

  • designing, setting up, and carrying out research projects that investigate and recommend solutions to a real local issue or problem
  • traditional work experience programmes.

The purpose of these experiences is to provide contexts which will develop students’ overall capacity:

  • to learn
  • to use knowledge
  • to be curious and questioning
  • to think and learn independently
  • to evaluate – and improve – their own thinking and learning.

Bolstad and Gilbert, 2008

Senior secondary students reflect on how their learning has changed at Fraser High School through curriculum integration and the use of authentic contexts as they produced the first issue of Passionfruit magazine. This project utilised many digital technologies, which enabled collaboration and anytime anywhere learning opportunities. The process enabled students to develop values, knowledge, and capabilities for life beyond school.

Miranda Makin, Deputy Principal Albany Senior High School, describes how technologies have enabled students engaged in the Impact Project to take their learning beyond the school and engage with experts to find information and share their learning. She explains, "The purpose of e-learning for us was not to adopt tools per se but to look at the opportunities that these tools afforded to collaborate online and to get feedback." 

The increasing use of digital technologies inside and outside school allows tailoring of learning experiences to individual learners, to respond to learner-driven choices about where, what and how learning occurs. They allow learners to manage the evidence to support and to demonstrate their achievement as learners.

Future-focused learning in connected communities, May 2014

Technology must be effectively woven into instruction to support student learning.

Personalising learning can involve shaping students’ learning pathways in ways that support their needs and interests and provide them with agency to make choices about their own learning.

Students from Halswell School explain about how they take control of their learning in an innovative learning environment. Students can choose to work independently or collaboratively, while also having access to the variety of skills that each teacher can offer. Student, Ruby says, "I like it because we have lots of freedom of what we would like to choose."

Daniel has ADHD. He and his teacher, Kate Friedwald, talk about how having a must-do/can-do list and an ipad enable him to have ownership and control over his learning.

Ashburton College students, Olivia and Vlad share their perspectives on using NetNZ  online learning courses to access the subjects they wish to learn within a timetable they can manage. They describe the flexibility and the independence that it offers.

Use digital technologies to setup systems that enable shared planning and monitoring of student learning to ensure you are successfully supporting students to have control over their learning.

Wairakei School teacher, Kate Friewald describes how she uses Google Docs to support differentiated learning in her classroom. She uses Google spreadsheets to create her weekly plan, maths plans, and literacy plans. She shares these with students based on a "must do/can do" process. Students are split into cooperative work groups, not necessarily structured on reading or maths ability. Each group member has a number of "must dos", to complete within the morning block, and some blank time to structure their own learning focused on their learning needs.

Providing feedback

Very few skills can be developed without timely and relevant feedback.

The level and kind of feedback which can be provided through digital media (such as Google docs) is just one of the ways in which they assist in providing multiple means of engagement. The UDL guidelines recommend teachers use options that develop students’ self-assessment and reflection skills as a way to promote self-regulation. 

Monitoring progress

Digital learning environments can support teachers with collecting valuable data for measuring student growth as well as making necessary adjustments to instruction. These technologies do not replace teachers in monitoring the progress of students; rather, they provide valuable, timely, and student-centred sources of information. With that information available, teachers can teach more effectively, making strategic, knowledgeable, and motivating decisions that facilitate all students taking ownership of their learning.

The student-centred classroom utilises the flexibility of digital technologies to provide a diverse range of students with multiple means of representation, expression, and engagement enabling all students to take ownership of their learning.

By utilising a rich set of tools and resources to elevate and differentiate teaching, teachers can be a content provider and the classroom’s most experienced and savvy teacher/learner, a model of the kind of expert learner students can emulate.

Provide multiple means of representation

Provide options that make learning more equitably accessible. Because students learn and process information differently, providing the same information in a variety of ways and using a variety of mediums allows students to select the approach that works best for them.

This means that information in a visual diagram may be presented in an alternative way – like a verbal description or a tactile graphic – so that there is an alternative for students with poor vision.

Tamaki College maths teacher, Noelene Dunn has set up a Google site for her students to support a flexible and inclusive approach to learning. She and her students explain how they use it. Students value having "a lot of different activities to choose from, everyone can do what they like to do”.

Student-centred means of action and expression

The flexibility of digital media means it can be used for representing information, and constructing or gathering information.

Students can use digital technologies to:

  • transform information and make something new
  • recombine information to solve a problem
  • link information to show relationships
  • modify information for personal preferences.

Encourage students to express themselves using a variety of different media. A curriculum is not student-centred when all students must express or demonstrate what they have learned in exactly the same way.

Supporting student learning

Digital technologies can be used to provide a greater range of differentiated support and scaffolding. Identify and provide scaffolds and supports, which can be adjusted, to meet the the changes in skill and development students develop as they move toward independence.  

Curricular opportunities in the digital age

Kate Friedwald explains how she uses a Universal Design for Learning (UDL) approach in her classroom at Wairakei School. Teaching is based on students' specific needs and learning activities are differentiated and personalised for each learner. Activities and resources are produced in a variety of mediums to meet learner needs.

Learning approaches that build learner agency

makoura052

Utilise learning approaches that drive agentic learning.

Within these approaches, use digital technologies to remove barriers to learning, support student engagement, provide authentic hands-on activities, and support collaboration. 

“It is difficult to feel responsible when you have no agency. To have a voice in how an activity is carried out or in how the meaning specific to that activity is constructed can greatly enhance students’ motivation to engage precisely because they are allowed to invent their environment as they simultaneously invent themselves.”

Toshalis and Nakkula 2012  

Convert your classroom into a makerspace and support your students through their creative endeavours

The maker movement is about putting the making back into learning. Students construct new knowledge when they are engaged in constructing personally meaningful products. They can pull things apart, discover how they work, trial new ideas, and make meaningful products. Important to the process is the presentation of those products to an interested, authentic audience. 

Students involved in maker culture can gain agency by driving their own STEAM learning (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Maths).

Maker classes at Taupaki School 

Kim Baars describes the learning taking place in Maker classes at Taupaki School. Kim talks about teachers and students working collaboratively to problem-solve, and the powerful differentiation taking place in the makerspace. It is learning by doing in a way that is controlled by the students. 

Example Makerspace project: Building an app 

Making an app provides a chance for students to go deeper into their learning, as well as developing coding skills. This project can be applied to learning in any content area.

Students identify a need/purpose for an app, which they design, build, and test with their peers.

The app can include:

  • useful texts
  • quizzes
  • puzzles
  • games
  • videos
  • images
  • diagrams.

The app can be shared with friends or made available for download from an appstore.

e-Learning tools to support app-making
  • Appypie  is an example of many new app-builders that are free and designed for helping users achieve simple goals in an app. Students can start making an app for free without having any coding experience using an app-builder like Appypie.
     
  • Codeacademy  is a free resource containing digital tutorials structured to help first time app developers and website builders. As student goals become more complex, it might be time to start learning code.
More information »

Beginning learning by asking questions can be a productive way of fostering learner agency. In inquiry-based learning, teachers guide students through the various stages of inquiry by helping them:

  • define learning goals
  • develop hunches
  • prototype and ideate
  • research
  • share their findings
  • reflect.

Hillcrest School teacher, Miel MacLean and students share how learning experiences, in a student-led inquiry into Māori kites, were enriched through using technologies and publishing via a collaborative wiki.

More information »

Project-based learning is an effective way of fostering learner agency among students. A project has the potential to reshape a learner's environment, connect them to communities beyond the classroom, and develop student voice. 

Sam Cunnane, head of the arts faculty at Fraser High School, talks about Passionfruit Magazine, which is completely written, designed, produced, by students. 

The Portal Unity Project from CORE Ministry Video on Vimeo.

Year 13 student Daniel Cowpertwait describes his Portal Unity Project – a "mod" for the online game Portal he has developed along with three other students as part of the Impact Project at Albany Senior High School.

More information »

Identify how distinct components of learner experience influence the development and expression of agency

 

Using the seven principles of learning, identify how distinct components of learner experience influence the development and expression of agency.

Plan to use appropriate digital technologies that provide access for all students and support learner agency.

Self-directed, lifelong learning

"The capacity to continuously learn and apply/integrate new knowledge and skills has never been more essential. Students should become self-directed, lifelong learners, especially as they are preparing for jobs that do not yet exist, to use technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve problems that are not yet even recognised as problems."  

The nature of learning

Create an environment that recognises learners as its core participants

Create a learning environment that encourages active engagement to help students develop an understanding of their own activity as learners. When learners have the power to act in the learning process, they become agents of their own learning.

Students from Breens Intermediate share how they set literacy goals and conduct reflections using Google docs.

Caroline Marris, year 7 and 8 team leader at Woodend School, discusses how students contributed to the design of their innovative learning environment. 

Using digital technologies to support teaching and learning

Plan activities that:

  • centre on student cognition and growth
  • allow students to construct their learning through engagement and active exploration
  • use a variety of approaches including: cooperative, inquiry, and service learning (community engagement)  
  • enable students to develop self-regulation/management competencies
  • are stimulating and relevant for your students
  • encourage and respect students’ perspectives.

Identify specific technologies to support all students fully engage such as:

  • graphic organisers
  • collaborative tools
  • internet search tools
  • presentation tools
  • support tools such as text-to-speech, IWordQ

Develop an environment that actively encourages well-organised cooperative learning 

When learners co-construct work with their peers, their learning has the power to reshape their social context, giving their work more meaning. The social dimension to learning is critical to developing agency.

Nigel Mitchell, HOD English at Tawa College, and students in his class talk about the benefits of using Prezi to collaborate and take control of their own learning. 

Using digital technologies to support collaboration

Plan activities that involve cooperation and collaboration, utilise online collaborative tools that facilitate this such as:

  • Google docs, Google presentations, Prezi
  • Social media tools such as Facebook groups and Twitter hashtags

Be sensitive and responsive to student emotions 

When space is opened for agency in the classroom, a unique window into what the student thinks and feels about their learning also opens. Teachers are provided with invaluable insights into how students are making sense of their learning, and how comfortably their identities sit within their learning context.

Senior secondary students at Fraser High School reflect on how their sense of themselves as learners changed during a student-driven project. The project encouraged them to self-monitor their learning, leading to increased confidence and self-management skills. 

Teacher Susan Lee at Te Kura o Kutarere describes how the focus has moved away from classroom management to students taking responsibility for their own learning, developing confidence in themselves as learners, and wanting to share their writing with others. 

Using digital technologies to support learners

Be attentive and sensitive to individual student needs, particularly those experiencing cognitive overload. Help students to be aware of and manage their emotions and stress.

Provide digital tools that make learning easier and more accessible, such as:

  • graphic organisers
  • online timelines
  • text-to-speech, IWordQ
  • use Moodle or Google sites to support students with accessing and revisiting information anywhere, anytime.

Create an environment that is sensitive to individual differences among the learners in it, including their prior knowledge

Knowing your learners is essential for planning and providing options that meet individual needs and preferences. Providing a range of tools and choice in learning supports students to identify what they need to learn and how they learn best.  

Students from Pakuranga College, along with their deputy principal, Billy Merchant, share how using their digital devices to access online resources supports their learning styles.

Wairakei School teacher, Kate Friedwald explains how information and feedback presented visually and orally in her digital classroom are designed to meet the learning needs of Daniel, a student with ADHD. 

Using digital technologies to support learner preferences
  • Provide multiple means of representation to ensure all learners have access and clarity, such as images, video, written descriptions.
     
  • Use digital technologies that support students to access, process, and construct information equitably.
     
  • Utilise a range of technologies that provide flexibility and adaptability for students.
     
  • Use digital technologies to flip learning and enable students to revisit information as often as needed.
     
  • Support students to realise their learning goals and take charge of their timetable, for example through NetNZ .

Devise programmes that demand hard work and challenge from all without excessive overload

Encourage students to think deeply about their learning; co-construct learning goals that require students to use reasoning and exercise agency in solving problems. Plan realistic challenges that support students to develop rigour and persistance. Be sensitive to individual differences. 

Scaffolding challenges in which students can achieve personal and incremental successes according to their needs – and managing this process – are central to helping your students develop agency in their learning. 

Wairakei School teacher, Kate Friewald describes how she uses Google Docs to support differentiated learning in her classroom.

Using digital technologies
  • Utilise technologies to remove identified barriers such as screen readers, IWordQ so students can focus on learning.
     
  • Provide online information, games, videos that are easily accessible and can be revisited so all students can have access and control over their learning.
     
  • Utilise collaborative tools which enable students to work together, teach, and help each other; stretching all learners.

Provide clear expectations

Learners need to be able to access and understand assessment criteria, and use these for their own critical self-reflections in order to become agentic learners. Use assessment strategies that are consistent with expectations.

Russell Street School teacher, Jacqui Innes describes the process and benefits of using e-portolios as a tool for assessment.

Teacher, Vicki Pimenta shares her approach to using the literacy progressions and raising student achievement in reading. By including student voice and encouraging the students to know where they were and what their next step was going to be students own their learning. In the classroom she uses QR codes to help them with this. In this video you can see how the literacy coaches have supported her teacher inquiry in the classroom.

Using digital technologies for assessment
  • Place emphasis on formative feedback to support learning. Utilise tools such as Google docs to give feedback in ways that scaffolds students into solving their own problems.
     
  • Provide tools such as e-portfolios that enable students to demonstrate their learning in multiple ways.
     
  • Identify specific technologies to remove barriers for students experiencing learning difficulties; this may include applying for special assessment conditions (SAC) .

Promote connections across areas of knowledge, subjects, the community, and wider world

Support students to organise their knowledge building, recognise their prior experience, and build on that.

When learners can situate their learning within a wider learning community, or are able to view their learning as making meaningful contributions to their community, their learning becomes authentic. This leads to greater agency. 

Mike Crawford, teacher at Woodend School, discusses how his students are using Twitter as a vehicle to raise awareness of local environmental issues.

French teacher Sarah Collett and two of her students, from Hillcrest High School, describe the how they used a wiki to make connections with students from New Caledonia and create authentic language learning experiences.

Using digital technologies to share information, collaborate, and access experts

Teach students how to become safe, responsible digital citizens so they are aware of how to: 

  • share information and protect their rights, for example using Creative Commons
  • connect with others safely, for example using the NetSafe kit for schools
  • understand copyright when utilising or acknowledging the source of information.

Consider the tools you and your students can use to collaborate and share their work and agree how these will be used. For example:

  • setting up Facebook discussion groups
  • using Twitter for discussions
  • sharing blog posts
  • setting up a YouTube or Vimeo account
  • creating websites
More information »
NZC Online

Learner agency – James Anderson, a year 12 student at Hobsonville Point Secondary School, shares what learner agency means to him in this NZC online blog post.

Filter by: Primary Secondary

Tauranga Moana Cluster

Kids Rewired – a student conference

Teacher Shelley Blakey and e-learning facilitator Sandy Bornholdt describe the inquiry process they went through with the students to develop this successful conference run by students for students.

Hereora: Discussing future-focused collaboration

Hereora – A future-focused collaboration

Hereora leaders share how their cluster wide future-focused inquiry is providing students with opportunities to have agency over decisions around learning.

Māori achieving success as Māori – changing teaching approach

Māori achieving success as Māori – changing teaching approach

Motu School teachers describe how an inclusive approach and incorporating te reo Māori across the school curriculum has impacted on student learning.

Students inquire into innovative learning environments

Students inquire into innovative learning environments

Team leader, Caroline Marris and year 7-8 students explain how they worked together to design their innovative learning environment.

BYOD – Benefits for student learning

BYOD – Benefits for student learning

Lead ICT teacher, Ben Britton and students at Wellington High School describe how 1:1 devices have enabled student agency. 

Raising student writing levels using Google docs

Raising student writing levels using Google docs

Vimi Chandra explains her teacher inquiry aimed at raising the writing levels of targeted students.

Learning online – Teacher perspective

Learning online – Teacher perspective

e-Learning teacher at Ashburton College, Nicky Lewis, discusses online learning. She outlines the various tools they use online, in particular, Moodle. Nicky says, “accessibility is important”.

BYOD – Benefits for students

BYOD – Benefits for students

Students from Pakuranga College, along with their deputy principal, Billy Merchant, share how using their digital devices to access online resources supports their learning.

Language learning supported by technology

Language learning supported by technology

e-Learning leader Carla Joint talks about the benefits of technology in learning languages.

Authentic learning experiences facilitated through a wiki

Authentic learning experiences facilitated through a wiki

French teacher Sarah Collett and two of her students, describe the usefulness of using a wiki to create and enhance authentic language learning experiences.

Beginning to use ICTs to enhance learning

Beginning to use ICTs to enhance learning

Teacher Liz Dench and a student, from Hillcrest High School, discuss accessing how using technologies expands learning.

Learner agency

Learner agency

Scott McKenzie (senior syndicate leader) and Don McLean (principal) explain how they have been working towards their goal of building learner agency and using digital technologies to support that. Student, Lucy talks about her genius hour project and what she has learnt from it.  

Innovative learning  in year 0–2

Innovative learning in year 0–2

Eilish Moran, teacher at Halswell School, explains the importance of encouraging students to be self-directed learners. Establish good learning routines which allow for student choice. 

Student agency in an innovative learning environment

Student agency in an innovative learning environment

Year 7-8 students, Ruby and Harriet explain how their innovative learning environment allows them to have control of their learning at Halswell School.

Year 5–6 Learning in an innovative learning environment

Year 5–6 learning in an innovative learning environment

Anita Head, team leader at Halswell School, explains how drawing on the individual strengths of her team allows them to provide a more refined programme for their students.

Transition to an innovative learning environment

Transition to an innovative learning environment

Gabrielle Nuthall, teacher at Halswell School, talks about the preparation that took place before they transitioned into their ILE. 

NE–Y1: Creating a connected and innovative learning environment

NE–Y1: Creating a connected and innovative learning environment

Eilish Moran, teacher at Halswell School, explains how their innovative learning environment collaborative operates and connections with parents. 

Enabling student ownership of learning by providing a differentiated programme for a learner with ADHD

Enabling student ownership of learning by providing a differentiated programme for a learner with ADHD

Daniel, who has ADHD and his teacher talk about how having a must-do/can-do list and an ipad enable him to have ownership and control over his learning.

Passion projects

Passion projects

At St Hilda's Collegiate, every Year 9 student is mentored with someone from the local community and they work throughout the year on their Passion project

Fraser High School curriculum integration project – students reflect

Fraser High School curriculum integration project – students reflect

Senior secondary students reflect on how their learning has changed at Fraser High School through curriculum integration and the use of authentic contexts as they produced the first issue of Passionfruit magazine.

The Portal Unity Project

The Portal Unity Project

Year 13 student Daniel Cowpertwait describes a "mod" he has developed for an online game Portal.

The Impact Project

Impact project

Miranda Makin, DP Albany Senior High School, describes how technologies have enabled students engaged in the Impact Project to take their learning beyond the school and engage with experts to find information and share their learning.

Student showing their work

Student agency in learning

Year 13 English students from Nelson College for Girls share their experiences of student agency in learning. The students talk about the impact of increased ownership on their engagement and motivation, how they transfer this experience to other subjects, and the positive impact on NCEA results.

Student working with teacher

Student agency challenges

Year 13 English students from Nelson College for Girls discuss the challenges of working in an agentic environment. Students share their experiences of increased learner agency, the role of the teacher, course planning, and the need to balance agency and expectations.

Students working together

Students owning their learning

Year 5 and 6 students at Hampden Street School talk about the positive impact student agency is having on their learning, how it’s changing their interactions with teachers and classmates, and the resulting lift in their motivation, engagement, and achievement.

Teaching for 21st century learners

Teaching for 21st century learners

Dr David Parsons, Associate Professor Massey University, explains the need to teach higher level thinking skills and develop key competencies using technology to prepare students for the 21st century.

Students take ownership of their learning

Students take ownership of their learning

Staff at Te Kura o Kutarere talk about the change in students' attitude to learning that has occurred as a result of using Storybird in the writing process. 

Student using VR equipment

Setting up virtual reality at Pakuranga College

Teachers at Pakuranga College talk about how they have introduced VR into their school and the equipment they use.

Student wearing VR goggles

Extending learning through virtual reality

Teachers at Pakuranga College explain their process for introducing virtual reality (VR) and how they are encouraging students to be comfortable with new technologies.

Teacher talking with students

Virtual reality supporting student learning

Students from Pakuranga College describe the VR game they created as a collaborative project, and the skills they developed through the process.

Treetops TV

Treetops TV

Treetops TV is Leamington School's television driven by the students. Technologically capable learners put the school's learner dispositions into action. 

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Resources

Research 

Future-focused learning in connected communities

Future-focused learning in connected communities

This report from Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye's 21st Century Learning Reference Group focuses on transforming teaching and learning, enabled by technologies that are widespread in our society. It suggests ten strategic priorities for 21st century skills and digital competencies.

Curricular opportunities in the digital age

Curricular opportunities in the digital age

Students at the Centre is a series of nine research publications exploring the role that student-centred approaches can play to deepen learning and prepare young people to meet the demands and engage the opportunities of the 21st century. This paper explores using digital technologies to support customisation for learning.

Motivation, engagement, and student voice

Motivation, engagement, and student voice

This instalment in the Students at the Centre series explores the links between increased motivation and student-centred approaches.

Preparing students for a project-based world

Preparing students for a project-based world

This paper, released jointly by Getting Smart and Buck Institute for Education (BIE), explores equity, economic realities, student engagement and instructional and school design in the preparation of all students for college, career and citizenship.

Makerspaces: Highlights of select literature

Makerspace: Highlights of select literature

This review looks at a selection of the latest discourse and thinking emerging from the growth of makerspaces and their developing roles in education and communities.

Developing Self-Regulated Learning Skills in Young Students

Developing self-regulated learning skills in young students

In her PhD thesis, Lynne Bird explores how NZ teachers introduce and develop particular self-regulating learning strategies and tools in primary classrooms to improve students’ skills in self management of learning. She aimed to find out: how teachers integrated self-regulated learning strategies; how could self-regulated learning strategies be introduced during the learning cycle; and how different groups of students develop these learning strategies.

Learner agency, dispositionality and the New Zealand Curriculum key competencies

Learner agency, dispositionality and the New Zealand Curriculum key competencies

In this article from NZ Journal of Teachers Work author, Jennifer Charteris examines how learners take up agentic subject positions within and across differen learning areas through developing key competencies.

The nature of learning: Practitioner guide

The nature of learning: Practitioner guide

A summary of The Nature of Learning, which highlights the key messages and principles from the full report. It is intended as a practitioner guide. The seven principles outlined inform everyday experiences in current classrooms as well as educational programmes and systems.

Online resources

Encouraging student voice

Information from NZC Online to support teachers with gathering student voice.

Learner agency

A blog post explaining learner agency with links to useful videos and readings.

EDtalks Learner agency

Search result showing all the EDtalks videos that describe and demonstrate learner agency in NZ schools.

Digital citizenship

Information, examples, and resources to support teachers introduce digital citizenship into their learning programme.

Digital fluency

Information, examples, and resources to support teachers build digital fluency into their learning programme.

Using digital technologies to support learning in a senior secondary context

This online guide provides: ideas, resources, and stories illustrating how NZ secondary schools use digital technologies to extend and enhance learning in the NCEA years.

Project-based learning: students follow their interests and explore potential careers

All Year 11-13 students at Albany Senior High School spend a whole day every week working on Impact Projects. They can explore topics or work areas they are particularly interested in, and link with local employers, tertiary providers or community groups. This 2015 case-study from Futureintech explains how it works.

e-Learning community discussions

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