The Art of Student-Centered Learning for Self Empowerment

Contributed By

Cyndi Amaya

Contributing Writer

The Art of Student-Centered Learning for Self Empowerment

Posted in Community | June 01, 2016

While learning is often associated with empowerment, few times do we see that empowerment self-attained rather than being handed down. Elementary school teacher, Gail Moore, realized this when evaluating how technology played a role in her teaching method.

"From overheads to projectors, my teaching thus far had been very teacher-centric, relying on only my 'expertise' of the content to be passed down to my willing 'subjects'," Gail explains. Realizing that very role, she adds, was her "first step to recovery."

In her search for the "holy grail" of technology to make learning more student-centered, Gail's first introduction to Schoology came at a professional development seminar for middle-school teachers where the instructor used Schoology to help guide their learning. At that moment, she was hooked.

"I was blown away at the various tasks my colleagues and I were taking part in: peer editing, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity,” Gail says. “I left that session with a headache and a smile, not from stress, but from the sheer use of brainpower in the activities I had been thrown into."  

That same sense of accomplishment left Gail with an epiphany, "If this is what I felt like after these learning tasks, why couldn’t my students have the same opportunity of learning? Why couldn’t elementary students be given a chance to use such a powerful tool?"

Walking the Walk in Student-Centered Learning

Diving head-first into a new wave of technology, Gail created Schoology accounts for her fifth grade class and shared her excitement about the program with her colleagues and principal, both of whom jumped in along with her. She adds, "Students have been empowered to not only read and write online, but also share their voice, learning, and reflection with their peers and parents."

Gail is now able to give immediate feedback to students and post assignments and preview videos for the next day’s lesson in a matter of minutes. The flexibility and options have been a catalyst for her own evolution in education, so much so that she is teaching her own course on using Schoology this upcoming summer.

Most importantly, Schoology has helped place the learning into the eager hands of the students. As Moore points out,  "The autonomy students have to be an agent in their own learning and my mind shift from a content provider to a learning guide has been the most powerful conduit that Schoology is responsible for."

This shift in dynamics goes beyond increasing engagement to also allow for self-empowerment. Gail now confesses that her journey "converted (her) into an advocate for student’s rights to have access and opportunity to technology to transform their own learning."

Gail Moore
Elementary Teacher
Vancouver Public Schools
Educator of the Year Finalist

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Above is a story from our weekly educator spotlight series we like to call The Art of Schoology, a celebration of all the amazing ways the Schoology Community is transforming education around the world. Share your story in 250-500 words, inspire your community, and let's learn together! It's easy. Just submit your story below.

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