The following terms appear throughout Modern Teacher's Professional Learning Framework. Refer to this page any time you need help defining a common language for the modern learning environment.
21st century skills
Skills that students need to live and work effectively in the 21st century. These skills must be learned and practiced in the context of real-world situations and problems. What students will need to learn and be able to do as adults in the areas of collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, information, media and communication literacy skills and career/life skills such as flexibility, the ability to adapt, initiative, productivity, accountability, leadership and cross cultural skills. For more information see p21.org for one example of a 21st century skills framework.
The role of the modern teacher that designs lessons using best practice to plan for specific outcomes.
At different times. For instance, when students can respond to others in a digital discussion by posting on their own time. There may be a lag between posts.
Providing a framework for learning that intentionally brings into play real world, relevant problems and applications, multiple perspectives, ways of working, habits of mind, and community.
Authentic, real world contexts
A digital conversation that takes place alongside an activity or event to ask question or discuss more in depth information.
BadgingVirtual stickers or awards that can be given to students to support achievements and anything else the teacher would like to reinforce.
Blended lessonsA connected group of digital and face-to-face learning experiences with identified learning goals that students are working toward within a unit.
Blended unitsA series of lesson blocks connected by an authentic context for learning. It supports and connects a group of core content knowledge/standards and 21st century skills with the goal of building conceptual understanding.
CoachThe role of the modern teacher that gives feedback in a constructive and encouraging yet challenging manner to aid in reflection and improved performance to meet goals and desired outcomes.
These spaces allow teachers to work with individual students on specific learning goals. They should be located in a quiet area so student and teacher can reflect and speak without distractions.
In small groups students work together, usually without teacher facilitation, to search for understanding, meaning, solutions or to create an artifact or product of their learning.
Student-led collaborative spaces are designed for discussion, problem solving, brainstorming and questioning. This space is used when students share feedback, solve problems, and/or discuss and work together to develop an understanding of content and skills.
Content knowledge (standards)Content area standards that are aligned vertically and horizontally across a K-12 continuum. There is clear evidence of what mastery looks like at each level so that students can learn at their own pace. The vertical alignment is the K-12 picture or progression of content across grade levels and the horizontal alignment is the grade level picture or progression of content across subject areas.
Content knowledge (standards)
Continuum of learningAgreed upon competency or mastery expectations of core content knowledge/standards aligned over a student’s K-12 school experience.
Continuum of learning
Customizing provides individualized learning experiences, based on data, to meet the readiness needs of each student.
Any resource, in digital form, used to build student-learning experience that comes with a legal right to use. Examples include but not limited to photos, video, animations, illustrations, word or pdf documents, presentations or screencasts.
Digital media album
An application that allows users to import and share media of all kinds to think and work creatively, complete projects, solve problems, and/or give and receive feedback.
Digital or Face-to-Face experiences
Instructional strategies in a lesson, both digital and interactive between students and/or between students and teacher, that make up a blended lesson and meet the learning goal.
Teacher leads the instruction and all students learn the same content and skills at the same pace. This format is a common instructional choice when teaching specific procedures, basic skills tasks, or where the level of mastery needs to be critiqued for step-by-step accuracy. It is best used when learning tasks involve retrieval of information or comprehension of new material.
The role of the modern teacher that guides, equips, and provides opportunities for learning in the digital and face-to-face learning environments to accomplish outcomes and meet goals.
Flexible and adaptive environment
A classroom setting, both physical and digital, that allows for a variety of student groupings and for students to learn in ways that meets their needs.
A wide variety of formal and informal ways to check student learning and then use that information to formulate next instructional steps and goals.
Also called Essential Question. From Wiggins and McTighe (Understanding by Design, ASCD 2005) “Questions that are not answerable with finality in a brief sentence. The aim is to stimulate thought, to provoke inquiry and to spark more questions including thoughtful student questions, not just pat answers.”
Individual work spaces
These spaces allow students to complete independent learning at their own pace. Students may use this space when they need to be in a quiet area, somewhat free from distractions. There may be a number of individual learning spaces in a classroom.
Industry Technology Standards
Standards written and published by educators to guide the work of transforming learning experiences through the use of technology. These may include but are not limited to state adopted technology standards or ISTE standards for students and teachers.
Students and/or teacher determine question to be answered and students use analysis, reasoning, creating to complete an authentic learning task.
Guideposts for students that indicate where they are in relationship to mastery. The Knowledge Map is parallel but also connected to the Continuum of Learning. While the Continuum provides a bigger picture of the learning sequence, the Knowledge Map provides detail about the content and skills required for mastery.
The first digital screen that the learner sees when logging in to a course, unit or lesson, organized so that the learner can easily navigate through the course or lesson.
A document that the teacher, with student input, populates with individual learner preferences – intelligence preferences, learning styles, culture and more a needed.
The objective of the lesson; the learning the student should attain at the completion of the lesson or activity. Other common terms for learning goals are learning targets or learning objectives.
Sequence of customized and personalized learning experiences, activities and/or tasks that a students uses to reach mastery of a learning goal or group of learning goals.
May be created for a single standard or a group of standards and serve many purposes: set expectations of learning, provide a means to show where a student is in relationship to mastery, and inform the design and build of customized digital lessons for targeted instruction.
The standards, learning goals and guiding questions that the teacher uses to begin building the lesson.
Learning Management System that provides tools for teachers to organized digital curriculum, create online or blended learning experiences and track student progress. Examples are Schoology, Canvas, Blackboard, etc.
The role of the modern teacher that uses what has been architected along with student data to organize, plan, communicate and implement actionable steps in order to meet specific outcomes and build in accountability.
The process of being aware of one’s own thinking and learning.
Partner work spaces
These spaces should provide for more quiet and focused learning between peers. Students should be able to interact, reflect and give feedback without distractions. This space is often used for creating, producing or completing projects or tasks.
The specific steps that are taken to build lessons and the ways that learning is scaffolded in the lesson to meet the learning goal and support student ownership.
Personalizing of learning tasks gives students choice to meet individual student learning styles, preferences and interests.
Strategies used to carefully think through and plan instructional questions to add interest, motivation and rigor to lessons and activities.
Depth of thinking about knowledge and its application that challenges students' thinking in new and more complex ways. It is individual to each student’s needs and occurs when they are encouraged toward a sophisticated understanding of fundamental ideas.
Questions that support students by breaking the learning into smaller pieces and asking questions that help students move to the next level. Scaffolding meets the needs of individual learners, helping them to meet the learning goal.
Students have control of the time they need to complete a lesson or activity.
A classroom setting, both physical and digital, that does not allow for a variety of student groupings and does not allow students to move and learn ways that meet their needs.
Simultaneous, at the same time. For instance, when students participate in discussion or chat at the same time. There is immediate feedback from others.
Spaces used with smaller groups that may need targeted instruction. This space gives opportunities for students and teachers to engage in discussions, problem solving, brainstorming, questioning and/or re-teaching. This space is also used when students access or process information, create and/or collaborate and need assistance from the teacher.
Teacher-led instructional spaces
The focus of the teacher-led learning space is direct instruction of content and skills. The size of the group can vary depending on the instructional needs of the class. This space is also often used when conducting class meetings or discussing, sharing and summarizing connected topics.
Unit essential question
Also called Guiding Question. From Wiggins and McTighe (Understanding by Design, ASCD 2005) “Questions that are not answerable with finality in a brief sentence. The aim is to stimulate thought, to provoke inquiry and to spark more questions including thoughtful student questions, not just pat answers.”
Updates or Newsfeed
A place that students and teachers can use to digitally make announcements add information about news events, school activities, classroom projects and progress toward goals.
A digital recording of computer screen content, perhaps with narration, used to help guide students through a course, lesson or activity.