Category: New Pedagogies

Deep Learning and Reality

The Assessment Challenge

A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

In the old pedagogy, you measure only content. As long as we keep measuring only content, we are setting students to learn just that. They need to have freedom to expand that content even further and be challenged to come up with new ways to do so. Erika Twani, CEO, Learning 1 to 1 Foundation. A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

The biggest challenge of new pedagogies and deep learning is the assessment. Here are some good examples of how educators are using specific ways of assessing the impact of the new pedagogies’:

The final product is being presented as an outcome of the learning process during which concepts are applied in real-life conditions.

Students take ownership of each other’s contributions assessment process.

Organizing public exhibitions of students’ final products of their learning process. Such experience prepares students for life beyond school.

“….you have to make work public – it’s absolutely critical to have public exhibitions. Standardized scores are not used in the real world.”

Learning impacted by deep learning tasks and new pedagogies has too many student skills and capacities to be measured. I would say, it is too difficult to create one general and specific system that could be used for measuring such complexity, containing learning process that may have too many variations of learning a concept. Students collaborate and learn together with other students, teachers are integrating subjects, so the goal, as well as the final product, might change the shape at any time during the learning process. However, ISTE standards often are a solution for assessing students’ learning progress in case of technology integration. ISTE standards measure students’ deep learning competencies (communication, collaboration, designing, learning, critical thinking, problem-solving, digital citizenship skills) that are necessary for a successful learner of the 21st century.

The effectiveness of the new pedagogies in this research is described as a learning process between students and teachers as partners in learning, that is motivating students for defining clear learning goals that drive students to achieve them by being autonomous learners. The teacher remains a mentor throughout the entire process. During the learning process, students are constantly analyzing their own learning as well as achievements. They manage to master the learning content, that is transferred to a creative process and even more – new knowledge creation, that is very much related to a real-life experience.

“New pedagogies should help students develop over time as independent, autonomous learners able to effectively design, pursue and achieve their own learning goals and personal aspirations as well as master curricular learning goals.”

According to John Hattie, “But this doesn’t happen by itself”. The teacher’s role in this process is to teach students to become teachers to themselves. This is an effort and time-consuming process. Students’ motivation for learning grows along with the attractiveness of the topic being learned. However, learning and achieving a common goal together might be much more interesting.

Challenge-Based Learning

During the CBL process students are provided with some really big real life-related problems, that encourage students to discover new ways and solutions in order to solve the problem. Such a learning process actively develops problem-solving skills. According to the Challenge Based Learning Implementation Report, young people like solving real-world problems. Such learning is a constant collaboration between teacher and student, that drives them to search and create possible ways of solving real-life problems and even more – take actions by publishing the solutions to a worldwide audience. Just like Greta Tumberg does 🙂 Moreover, students are working in collaborative teams on the research of the related topic, brainstorm strategies and solutions that are credible and realistic.

Augmented Virtual or Mixed reality?

Augmented Reality allows digital elements to appear over real-world photos or videos, sometimes with some limited interactivity between them. This allows students to design a digital object and add it to any real location or object.

The example of one of the projects developed by students at Harvard University demonstrated the opportunities for a great integration of AR in the curriculum. It allows a closer look at the objects of research as well as supplements possible missing elements, necessary for the project.

picture of augmented reality project

Credit: Harvard University

On the other hand, Virtual Reality opens wide opportunities for exploration and traveling around the world. Thanks to Google Voyager we can traveling around the world virtually and without any special equipment. The Google Expeditions app is an immersive learning and teaching tool that lets you go on VR trips or explore AR objects. Explore historical landmarks, go down to the atomic level, get up close with sharks, even visit outer space!

Mixed reality allows the design to combine AR and VR elements so digital objects can interact with the real world ( Interaction Design Foundation)


The idea and method of using a game-based implementation in the curriculum for raising students’ motivation must be really effective if the game integrated with some of the learning concepts has been built very well. Such method provides student learning autonomy – in order to complete the level and be awarded for that, student has to do an individual research and use problem-solving and critical thinking skills. However, it takes a lot of steps to be thought through. To come up with a good gamification based activity, educator has to follow the include elements listed out in the table below.

For my Final Course 5, I am planning to use Game-Based Learning method. From my very first acquaintance with GBL, I was impressed by the projects of the BreakOutEdu educational platform, therefore, I would like to come up with something similar.

image of grid for assessing intrinsic motivators for gameful design

Source: Gameful Design: A Potential Game Changer

Project-Based Learning

PBL Works explains PBL project as a process, successfully developing better content knowledge and improving students’ critical thinking, collaboration, creativity, and communication skills. This is a long-lasting project that lasts from a week to a semester, and engages students with real-world problem solving or tasks related to complex questions.

Design Thinking

Design Thinking is a mindset and approach to learning, collaboration, and problem-solving. (Desing Thinking in Education)

The design process as a framework allows identifying challenges, gathering information, generating potential solutions, refining ideas, and testing solutions. Moreover, this process is often cross-curricular and allows students collaboration that includes the steps like discovering, interpreting, ideating, prototyping and testing. It is great that teachers can access a lot of activities, workbooks, and curricular guides provided by Stanford or IDEO.

Blended Learning

BL method of delivery that combines the physical co-presence of teachers and students that occurs in traditional classrooms with the use of digital technology. (Universoty of Findlay)

During the pandemic period, this was one of our teaching methods that supported students learning online as well as those who were present in the classroom. For better support of students who learn at home, I was creating video recordings of concept explanations using Loom (an online screen recording tool). Google Classroom and Seesaw were really useful tools that supported BL as well.

New Pedagogies in my practice

“Neither have such measures been consistently integrated in a holistic measurement system that measures pedagogical practices, student engagement, and deep learning outcomes.”

Assessing and measuring the impact of deep learning pedagogies is a complex and complicated process that contains many steps and stages. I usually apply related ISTE standards to create rubric-based skills that are measured and describe all the stages of the deep learning task. I like the assessment examples described in A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning that have been used by other schools (such as a public exhibition). For similar purpose, I would use online tool ThingLink that allows creating a virtual exhibition room, which could include students works in any format: presentations, digital images, animations, etc. – anything that can be accessed online. The exhibitions could be accessible to the school community. Community members could evaluate and share comments on students’ creations on a  Padlet wall. Students could gather the comments and use them for further learning process.

In order to keep track of Lower School student’s progress during the year, our teachers have come up with Self Reflection rubric of the approaches to learning. Using this document, students can successfully rethink and reflect on their achievements over the last trimester or even school year. Here is an example:

The effective new pedagogies, such as collaboration between teachers and students as well as constant communication regarding the teaching curriculum is really useful. In our school, teachers have access to the curriculum maps of each other, which allows us to plan deep learning tasks as well as projects in advance. Organizing the collaboration meeting is another useful method – teachers gather in the same room and share their teaching plans as well as topics. Sharing this valuable information with each other provides an opportunity of coming up with new collaboration ideas. This way teachers focus more on students’ skills development as well as their abilities in mastering new content and creating new knowledge.

Collaboration between different grade levels improves students’ communication skills. For example, at the beginning of this school year we simulated possible school closure scenario when students were collaborating online on the joint research project about the topic of their choice, working together with students from grades 3-5. During this process students communicated via the chat integrated into Google Slides. Students were searching for information online using their research skills and discussing the process via chat.

My other “project”, that I am going to test out this week with my students is pair coding online. During the last several weeks students were learning how to code in the classroom and individually (as we got closed) using Hour of Code and Google CS Frist activities. Some students have demonstrated a lot of interest in these coding activities by coding on their own during free time as well. The activities include favorite characters, well known to students. Moreover, these activities allow students to learn on their own, because of well-built assignments. Of course, teacher help is necessary for the beginning of the coding unit enrollment. Students from different grade levels will be able to share previously gained coding skills online via Google Meet session in Break out rooms.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

In order to support students’ autonomous learning, first of all, we agree on the learning goal that students come up with. After that, we review the goals and come up with an action plan in a form of a Google Keep to-do list. The list can be edited at any time when students gain new knowledge. During the school year, we review the plan and discuss further steps that would lead to the goals that have been planned. Keeping in mind their learning goals, students can build necessary knowledge as well as analyze and reflect on gained knowledge or search for new knowledge and, finally, come up with the newly created knowledge.

Right now, I’m am participating in the PBL project with our grade 4 students. Project topic – energy/collision. Students are split into groups of four and meet virtually as a group, together with their mentors – teachers. Goal of this PBL is to create a presentation/product that would make a social impact on our community. Right before the project, together with students we were experimenting on finding the best ways to use keywords and Google search operators that would narrow down our search results and find the most relevant information, that would support the project driving question – “How does our knowledge of energy, speed, and collisions help us save lives?”

The deep learning practices in our school

AR – Our students used their knowledge gained during the “Space” unit and after more research came up with the Augmented Reality project that included presentations with voice instructions about the interaction of the Sun to Earth. Students also learned to search for images online, respecting the author rights.

Another integrated project was a “Cat Walk” by grade 3 students. They demonstrated their french knowledge by recording each other’s catwalk and used their video editing skills to make a short video demonstrations with voiceovers describing the clothing items worn by students.

Developing the deep learning competencies

Creativity, communication, citizenship, critical thinking, character and collaboration are considered deep learning competencies.

Creativity is motivating me to always search and develop new ways of teaching the same concepts in a new format, as well as improve the content for students in order to make it even more attractive and easier to learn.

Communication between students and teachers in my role is essential. I must be aware of everyone’s needs and to come up with the best and even more effective practices for learning and teaching. Being able to communicate in various ways and using different tools for that is essential.

Citizenship is very important. I am trying very hard to be a fair citizen of the world, who cares about our planet a lot. I think the war and military is just a waste of time and resources, that could be used for so many important purposes. Poverty should not even exist in this 21st century.

Critical-thinking – the more you develop it, the more you understand how much more development it requires.

I think I support my students in becoming deep learners by presenting a concept in a variety of different methods as well as including different attractive and effective digital tools, that are often combined together. This motivates students to seek for the best results and be active deep learners.


“I’m Just One of Them”

The future of education is just next door

The world is changing every day at the speed of light and technology is one of the biggest catalysts of this process. Therefore, education has to change as well, however, this process is pretty slow because of too many participants included in it – teachers, students, parents, governments.  It is a huge change requiring a lot of effort from everyone. The change is difficult, but possible. It is a long path full of mistakes that leads to a huge success.

“One of the biggest systemic challenges to the spread of the new pedagogies is that they are not yet being measured in any coherent way. Unfortunately, most systems that we have seen simply do not yet have ways to measure the new pedagogies and deep learning outcomes.” A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

I really love Finland’s model of education, as well as their vision of an effective education, that emphasizes students getting real-world happiness every day by learning from solving real-life problems. It provides so much freedom for thoughts and experiments in the environment where human connections are the most powerful teaching method and sharing real-life experience is essential. I, personally, see their education model as one of the prospective models of future education, since it already has lots of  New Pedagogy model attributes. Moreover, its foundation is trust and collaboration among teachers, students, parents, and even school administration, which makes it a great example of Learning Partnership. Several years ago I had an opportunity to attend TEDxVilniusED 2017 conference, during which Dr Marjo Kyllönen (acting head of the basic education division in the city of Helsinki) gave a really inspiring and motivating speech about future education, or… education today (in some countries).

New Pedagogy and Deep learning

Reading this week’s material on the New Pedagogies and Deep Learning A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning reminded me of the educational model I’ve read about in one of our COETAIL’er Cindy’s blog post Studio 5 at ISHCMC, where students are taking ownership of their learning process and results, while teachers are their mentors, who provide relevant information and help students learn as well as motivate them for further progress. The school I’m working at is also currently going through some internal changes of the educational system, that’s why during our in-service week we all went to “Most Likely to Succeed”  movie screening. It is also a great example of a New Pedagogy model that we all are hoping to be moving towards in the nearest future.

According to Michael Fullan (Professor Emeritus OISE University of Toronto), New Pedagogy and  New Learning is more about the relationship among teachers, students, and families. In order to succeed as a learner in a complex world, students have to understand and learn the 6 c’s character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking. The relationship is a key element for any learner. Only by learning together and from each other, the highest goals will be achieved. During the COVID19 pandemic Learning together proved to be successful when teachers were teaching online and provided necessary information and resources, while students learning from home took the responsibility of their learning process in their own hands, and, with the parents’ support, succeeded in reaching pretty good results. Of course, all of this would be impossible without technology.

“The goals of deep learning are that students will gain the competencies and dispositions that will prepare them to be creative, connected, and collaborative life-long problem solvers and to be healthy, holistic human beings who not only contribute to but also create the common good in today’s knowledge-based, creative, interdependent world.” A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Michael Fullan also emphasizes students’ need for change and students as the most important character in education who will sooner or later ask for change, because of the constantly changing world around us, that is really much related to technology. If technology is all around us, then why do we still have to learn it as a separate subject? According to the research by Shannon Doak (Emerging Theories of Learning and the Role of Technology ) students are facing an entirely different world than the generations before. (Fouts, 2000) and the fact that virtually all segments of society have changed dramatically by information technologies and will continue to change in the future cannot be ignored. Schools must be a part of these changes and research should proceed with the assumption that technology is and will continue to be a growing element within the schools (Fouts, 2000). All of the students at my school have access to good quality internet as well as at least one or more devices at home. Moreover, students from Kindergarten to Grade 5 have a device provided by the school and are successfully using it during the learning process every day. They also have an opportunity to use a 3D printer, various programmable robots, and other STEM equipment (Spheroes, ProBots, Cubelets, Microbits, Beebots, MergeCubes, etc.) in our Tech Lab. Last school year we had a few hour PD session for teachers in a form of a Tech Fair, during which teachers from different divisions could come and see, learn, and try different pieces of technology. As an outcome, more integrated projects followed after this PD. Our presentation of opportunities to create different technology-rich learning environments has enriched the teaching curriculum of other educators. Therefore, more opportunities for students to experience deep learning has occurred after this teachers’ collaboration.

One of the favorite parts of my job is being in a role of co-teacher in classes with other teachers. This is a great model, that shows students how all of the subjects are related and how much easier the learning process becomes with this understanding. The co-teaching process might require more preparation and research, but it is much more effective. In similar situations, technologically rich environments are necessary for students in order to develop organizational, problem-solving, inquiry, and collaboration skills, that are urgent to any successful learner of the 21st century. It enriches the learning content with valuable material as well as possible practical applications.  Technology integration allows a deeper exploration as well as easier communication between students and teachers.


Our school is using various inquiry-based learning activities that very often include technology tools such as Padlet, or Fliprgrid used to share thoughts between students, teachers, and sometimes the school community. I find Inquiry-based activities a powerful tool for developing critical thinking as well as a method to push students’ away from understanding that teachers must provide all the necessary concept related material and students just have to “swallow” it. I, personally, love when students show, that they know a better solution than is proposed by the teacher (yes, it happens) and then students become co-teacher. By getting an opportunity and responsibility for participation in the teaching process, students become better learners.

“I’m just one of them” Neil Lyons, 8th Grade Teacher, WG Davis School, Canada

This way we also are building learning partnerships between teachers and students. I have to admit that when I was a young and inexperienced teacher, I was afraid of students who might know more than I. Now, I am happy when I get a chance to see those small gems approaching during my classes – it really nurtures our collaborative learning process.

“When students are given a legitimate voice in decision-making, and learn how to use that voice effectively, they start on the path towards becoming leaders of their own learning.” A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning

Learning Theories

Research by Shannon Doak emphasizes several learning theories:

  • Situated cognition: Learning community or community of practice, where the learners take an active role in the learning community, it builds learner relationships within the learner community.
  • Socially shared cognition: In Socially-Shared Cognition learners are participants in a community where the cognition is shared between the participants, the artifacts and tools they are using and the social institutions in which the learning occurs (Brown & Cole, 2000).
  • Distributed cognition: Student-centered approach to learning where the learners participate in a systematically designed learning environment that supports interaction amongst its participants.

All of these learning theories support the model of new pedagogy as well as deep learning.


Project-Based Learning is one more concept of the New Pedagogies which is directly connected to deep learning.

For example, students learn a new concept about energy and the ways it can be produced by exploring it through research. Technology integration is very important in this process since it helps effectively gather and process big amount of information required for the research, which is one of the deep learning tasks. Moreover, there are many good examples of learning partnerships in PBL, for example, students discussing the real-life problem they are working on with their peers, their teachers, and even their parents, who might have a certain level of specialized knowledge in the area of research.

My Goal

My goal for deepening learning partnerships in my school is to find even more safe ways for students to learn not only from each other, but from other learners around the world, as well as foster communication and develop stronger digital safety skills. I want my students to realize, how close valuable connections can be and how valuable is the role of technology for a successful learner.

Frameworks for learning and Learning Partnerships

Frameworks for learning are supported by learning partnerships and theories because all of the frameworks are based on teacher and student relationship in learning and integrating technology. Frameworks for learning help teacher plan the technology integration stages depending on students cognition stage, by leading students to successful utilization of technology for learning in order to develop necessary skills of a 21st-century learner such 6 C’s emphasized by Michael Fullan – character education, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

Some More Changes Towards the Deep Learning

Since Course 1, Week 5 I made myself see other ways of technology use in my classes as well as integrated classes. I began looking for a better way of integrating my teaching subjects such as design, research, and digital citizenship instead of just teaching or integrating a single concept at the time. Using ideas, learned from this week, I will think of other effective ways of giving students more responsibilities for their learning process. It will not be easy, but sometimes new methods seem to be surprisingly effective.

Every year I organize a coding week which gathers students from different grade levels for pair coding activity. Students from grade 5 are sharing their coding experience with Kindergarten and the opposite. Other grade levels are being mixed up in a similar manner. They explore opportunities for coding various robots using different coding languages and accepting coding challenges or passing obstacle courses, etc. This time this week’s reading encouraged me to think differently. My shift would be from in-person knowledge transfer to virtual learning together. Classes might do their coding activity and connect via Google Meet for the Class session and share their creations with other grade levels. Students coding Scratch will make their own games and will exchange with other students in order to be able to play each other games. Received feedback will motivate students for further exploration and even collaboration on programming a game together.

“The heart of a good teacher is the student – what the student needs to learn. When teachers see that a new way of teaching or new tools spark engagement and learning, they naturally gravitate towards these new pedagogies.” (Tan Chen Kee, a principal in Singapore)