AISI 4 Overview:

Essential Question:
How can we foster student engagement in a connected age?

Big Ideas:
Engaging students through effective instruction and assessment practices within a connected age.

Why is this focus important?
In response to the essential question: “How can we foster student engagement in a connect age?, preparing both teachers and students to teach in a connected age requires an investigation into what it means to teach and learn in “increasingly networked, technology-rich, digital classrooms” (CEA, 2008, p. 7). This project is needed to build a common understanding and to create cohesion amongst a number of initiatives and strategies within CESD:
· Assessment for and of Learning: The development of effective assessment practices and student participation within the assessment process
· Innovative Classroom Technology funding: Ensuring every instructional space has a projection device and/or interactive whiteboard by 2011. The availability of this technology as well as the inclusion of Web 2.0 tools into classrooms provides with a timely opportunity to examine effective instruction and assessment within a connected age.
· Setting the Direction ~Supporting all Learners: Providing classroom and curricular adaptations may include the use of assistive technologies and differentiated instructional practices.
· High school completion: CESD is committed to reaching a 90% high school completion 5 year rate. The opportunity to engage students through variety in course selection (e.g. dual accreditation opportunities, CTS Pathways model) and pedagogy associated with course delivery in a connected context.


District Goals:
I. To foster student engagement through effective assessment practices within a connected age. This goal will encompass the following:
“Teachers’ use of assessment is directed toward improving student learning and guiding teaching decisions. This means that teachers employ comprehensive assessment practices, with a strong emphasis on assessment for learning that is clearly focused on improving student learning and guiding teaching decisions and actions” (CEA, 2008, p. 8).

a. To improve students’ understanding of the targets (learning goals) and their level of achievement towards those goals through:
a. Communication and discussion of the outcomes from the program of studies;
b. The provision of specific, descriptive, and timely feedback;
c. The use of criteria;
d. The use of exemplars by which students’ work will be assessed; and
e. The use of quality questioning to engage all students.
b. To ensure students have active, consistent and effective involvement in assessment, including learning to manage their own learning through the skills of:
a. Self-assessment; and
b. Peer assessment.
c. To improve students’ ability to actively, consistently and effectively communicate with others about their achievement status and improvement through goal setting.
d. To provide students and parents specific, descriptive, and timely information regarding students’ progress in relation to the outcomes in the Alberta Program of Studies through:
a. Report cards that reflect the program of studies (e.g. Power School, excel documents)
b. Portfolios of student achievements (e.g. electronic portfolios)
c. Open access to student achievement data (e.g. Power School, Web Pages)

II. To foster student engagement through effective instructional practices within a connected age. This goal will encompass the following:
Teachers create and facilitate lessons that appropriately combine the outcomes in their program of studies, digital technologies and pedagogy that engages all learners.

a. Students understand the importance of digital citizenship and behave as responsible digital citizens

b. Student tasks and projects reflect skills required of students in a connected age:
a. Tasks requiring the use of digital tools are purposefully designed to include activities around the following structures (Harris, 1998): this came from the discussion with Phil McRae at our AISI 4 planning day (see bibliography for full reference)
1. Interpersonal Exchange
2. Information Collection and Analysis
3. Problem Solving
b. Students are engaged in authentic tasks. Tasks require a range of technologies that require critical thinking and problem solving, real-world contexts and constructivist orientations in a purposeful manner that illustrates a variety of way of thinking and doing.
c. Instructional tasks and assessments are differentiated based on student’ knowledge, readiness, preferences in learning, and interests (Hall, 2002). Students are provided opportunities for substantive input into task design and make key decisions regarding learning approaches and product/performance outcomes.
d. To produce a learning environment that is information rich with online and print resources (within the classroom, library, etc). Students are encouraged to use resources to push the boundaries of creativity and innovation.

c. Teachers apply a variety of technologies to meet students’ learning needs. (TQS, Permanent Certificate, (h))
a. Assistive technologies are enabled and seamlessly incorporated into learning tasks and activities.