TL Advisor Blog

See what happens when students are allowed to embrace free range learning by Lisa Nielsen

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October 21, 2011 By: Guest Blogger

May 30

Written by:
5/30/2011 6:18 PM  RssIcon

New Cannan High School is unique in that it provides a free range learning environment, meaning, what is contraband in places like New York City is embraced at this school. Students are free to bring their own personal learning devices (i.e. cell phones, iPads, laptops, etc.) and they are not blocked from gaining access to any website. In fact sites like Facebook and YouTube are embraced as powerful learning tools. 

Unfortunately, it seems teachers where the devices have been treated as the enemy, have bought into this idea, but where students are given the freedom to learn and create using the tools they want about subjects in which they're passionate, the school environment can move from celebrating success over scores on a bubble sheet, to celebrating success on the creation of a YouTube video viewed and commented on from folks around the world.

That was the case this week, when Michelle Luhtala's students created this video as part of American Library Association teen video contest,
Why I NEED My Library! Contest winners can receive thousands of dollars for their library.  Not only do these students create a great video, but they also make a great case for school libraries everywhere.  The video was the result of what happens when teachers support (rather than control) their students passion-driven learning and allow them to use the tools they embrace in the real world inside schools.

Here's the video. Please watch and if you enjoy it, please "like" the video.

To read more about this project visit their librarians blog post, "
What kids can do when they love what they do."

Lisa Nielsen is best known as creator of The Innovative Educator blog and Transforming Education for the 21st Century learning network. Lisa is an outspoken and passionate advocate of innovative education. She is frequently covered by local and national media for her views on "Thinking Outside the Ban" and determining ways to harness the power of technology for instruction and providing a voice to educators and students. Based in New York City, Ms. Nielsen has worked for more than a decade in various capacities helping schools and districts to educate in innovative ways that will prepare students for 21st century success. Her first book “Teaching Generation Text” is set for a fall 2011 release. You can follow her on Twitter @InnovativeEdu.

Disclaimer: The information shared here is strictly that of the author and does not reflect the opinions or endorsement of her employer.


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