Applicable Learning

The Learning-for-Use (LfU) framework has provided me with insight on integrating technology into the math and sciences. I can envision using activities like Google Earth, ArcGis and WorldWatcher to have students visualize and apply their learning. For instance, I can have my grade 6/7 students look at maps for their country/ancient civilization study projects. They can retrieve important facts from these visuals and being able to manipulate the maps to show different information is an effective skill for them to develop. Furthermore, students can demonstrate their usage by showing their peers through a projector or SMART Board. The design principles of LfU are at work in terms of promoting motivation by having students actively being a part of the learning process, constructing knowledge based on their maps, and refining their knowledge by sharing their knowledge and making reflections (Edelson, 2001). The roles of the teacher and students are aligned with LfU principles because teachers are not the solely responsible for delivering content knowledge, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and are not relying on the the teacher for their learning, and both teachers and students are engaged in the learning process equally. I also like the concept of integrating specifically computers into the curriculum because being able to use a computer is an important skill in terms of proper word processing, running programs, etc. LfU`s emphasis on computer definitely brings forth the idea of reform in the educational system (Edelson, 2001).  

Edelson, D.C. (2001). Learning-for-use: A framework for the design of technology-supported inquiry activities. Journal of Research in Science Teaching,38(3), 355-385.


  1. Hi Gloria,

    I can certainly see that this woudl be a great unit for a mapping type activity. Perhaps it might be beneficial to have students take on the role of archeologist and discover the boundaries of ancient civilizations through out their rise and fall. Text excerpts that discuss the extent of their boundaries could be provided as primary documents and then students could follow up with research into the causes of the expansion or contraction of borders during different historical events.

    Might there me a way to include some stem content here? Perhaps something involving population statistics, area, or growth rates?

    – Dan

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thank you for the awesome suggestion! I think students will then also get a chance to grasp the concept that ancient civilizations overlapped each other and not that one ended so that another would start. Trying to determine the land use would be a great way to integrate mathematics or the population of different classes of people (emperors, slaves, kings, etc.). To integrate engineering, students can study the architecture of different structures that existed in during ancient times and possibly produce a model of them!

  2. Hi Gloria,
    I love your idea of using GIS environments or Google Earth for an ancient civilizations project. This would be such an interesting way for students to understand the “lay of the land” and why civilizations developed where they did. Rather than simply understanding that civilizations “just happened” they would be able to look closely at the location, terrain, climate, bodies of water, and so on that contributed to where ancient civilizations developed. Rather than just being told the facts, they will actually be able to investigate and learn interactively. In addition to this, they could then apply their knowledge to the development of cities today and perhaps compare and contrast the two to apply their knowledge to modern day. They could even create “layers” to show where civilizations were in the past and where present-day cities are now in those same areas. Which areas are no longer inhabited, if any? If they are no longer inhabited, discover why not? If areas of ancient civilizations have continually developed over the centuries, why are those locations so successful? I also love the idea that students could use the knowledge they have acquired to develop their own civilizations. Based on their understanding of civilization needs and maps, they could then create their own civilizations again showing location, climate, bodies of water, etc. to apply and demonstrate their knowledge in a different way. As you have pointed out, educators are no longer “solely responsible for delivering content knowledge, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning and are not relying on the teacher for their learning.” Thank you for sharing your ideas! If I teach grade 6/7 next year, as it looks like I might, your post has given me some great ideas to develop!

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