Learning Resources

Digital Promise Launches Real-World Learning Tools

Digital Promise has compiled a set of online resources to help teachers deliver "real-world learning." Developed in cahoots with five districts that are in the nonprofit's League of Innovative Schools, the content includes tools for developing a strategy as well as case studies, examples and information about organizations that want to help schools develop real-world learning programs.

Among the tools is a self-assessment. By choosing responses to an extensive list of topics the user can get an assessment on how mature the district or school is in its pursuit of real-world learning.

A "strategic framework" builder provides guidance on a number of important activities related to setting up a program, including development of a vision, implementation, measurement of outcomes, professional learning, curriculum and instruction and support structures. The framework can be saved on the site for review and sharing.

A "roadmap" allows the educator to designate the activity location (in school, virtual and out of school), the amount of preparation time available and the scope (classroom lesson, event and school program). Based on the selections, a number of learning options are displayed. Clicking on them provides detailed information about the specific activity, how it fits the class and what students will gain by going through with it. For example, a "design challenge" could provide students with opportunities to collaborate with their peers, practice their public speaking, get and use feedback and several other skills. Besides that overview, teachers can also get planning guidance and examples.

The Real World Learning site is openly available on the Digital Promise website. (though an email address is necessary to save frameworks created in the framework builder).

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.