Category Archives: B. LfU

“Curiouser and curiouser!” ~ Alice In Wonderland

In what ways would you teach an LfU-based activity to explore a concept in math or science? Draw on LfU and My World scholarship to support your pedagogical directions. Given its social and cognitive affordances, extend discussion by describing how the activity and roles of the teacher and students are aligned with LfU principles.

I would teach an LfU-based activity using either Spheros (or Lego EV3 Mindstorms) in middle school classrooms to explore a variety of concepts in mathematics.

Learning For Understanding is a theoretical framework that is based on 4 principles: (a) knowledge construction is incremental in nature, (b) learning is goal directed, (c) knowledge is situated, and (d) procedural knowledge needs to support knowledge construction (Edelson, 2001).

It is very important that when we are teaching students, we link what students already know with new knowledge coming in. This is based on a constructivist theory of learning.

Robots are very exciting for students; most have a natural curiosity when they see them zooming down the halls. While not the exact motivation that Edelson (2011) was referring to, the design of these robots (colour/shape/size/sounds/versatility/etc.) provides an incentive with which to engage students. When I design a series of lessons with Sphero, I am working from an ADST lens and there is not one mathematical concept that I focus on. Due to the nature of Sphero and the challenges that can be designed (or that the students design), there are or can be so many concepts at play. Mathematical concepts such as distance, degrees, sequencing, math operators, variables, geometry, etc. are all part of its toolkit!

The initial experiences with Sphero allow for students to participate in goal-directed tasks to help them build up their skill toolkit. This addresses the incremental in nature aspect of LfU (Edelson, 2001). Figuring out how to first orientate Sphero and then use the block based coding Sphero Edu App (formerly Lightning Lab – though there are many others out there). Students are asked to solve some basic challenges – complete a square (and then a square with sharp corners as opposed to rounded corners) where they use background knowledge about angles, length, perimeter to complete this challenge (goal-directed). They are then asked to add visual appeal (code colour changes throughout) and an interesting element (some students add sound effects, others change the speed/duration on one side of the square for example). Sphero sees the world in 360 so students have to visualize the basics – 0 for forward roll, 90 for right turn, 180 move back, and 270 to go left to complete the square.

Adding onto their existing and newfound knowledge students are then ask to design solutions to a variety of “challenges” – ideally challenges that students have created.


I am interested in learning further about Learning For Use and exploring how it can be applied in math and science classes throughout my middle school.


Grade 6 ADST Big Ideas (BC Ministry of Education, 2015a):

– Design can be responsive to identified needs

– Complex tasks require the acquisition of additional skills

– complex tasks may require multiple tools and technologies


Grade 6 Math – Curricular Competencies (BC Ministry of Education, 2015b):

Reasoning and Applying

– Use logic and patterns to solve puzzles and play games

– Use reasoning and logic to explore, analyze, and apply mathematical ideas

– Estimate reasonably

– Demonstrate and apply mental math strategies

– Use tools or technology to explore and create patterns and relationships, and

test conjectures

– Model mathematics in contextualized experiences (i.e. programming)



BC Ministry of Education (2015a). Retrieved from

BC Ministry of Education (2015b). Retrieved from

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. 10.1002/1098-2736(200103)38:3<355::aid-tea1010>3.0.CO;2-M

Becoming the teacher

Looking at the 8 key areas when designing a lesson for LfU I would choose the virtual world builder CoSpaces to perhaps teach a Math lesson on 3D grid coordinates that would combine elements of L.A. (perhaps metaphors) to promote interdisciplinary learning and authentic understanding.  Placing the construction of knowledge in the students hands I would first have them run through the simulation I created on google cardboard themselves, then follow a web based scaffolded lesson so they could gain understanding on how to build the lesson and enhance it for a younger grade.


First looking at fostering motivation and creating demand  “the learner must be motivated to learn the specific content or skills at hand based on a recognition of the usefulness of that content beyond the learning environment students.(Edelson, D.C. 2001) Students love to teach others the knowledge they have gained. There is no better way for a student to show an understanding of what they have learned than have them teach it to others.They must also level their content to “Develop curriculum materials to better accommodate the learning needs of diverse students”( Bodzin,  Anastasio & Kulo. 2014). They need to understand who their audience is and provide “a motivating entry point to set the stage for their investigations.”( Bodzin,  Anastasio & Kulo. 2014)


Secondly the program itself elicits curiosity. Specific subject content aside in Cospaces you build a virtual environment and then use blockly to code your 3D objects to interact with the user.  Students in my class would already be well versed in Scratch which also uses blockly. However this is a 3D environment, Scratch is 2D, and spacial awareness takes on a whole new meaning when you are coding in 3D.  It shows enough gaps in the student’s knowledge that they are motivated to try and fill those gaps to complete the puzzle which is built into the design process by the teacher and the students.


Collaboration or fostering knowledge construction is two process under the LfU model “(a)observation through first hand experience, and (b) reception through communication with others”(Edelson, D.C. 2001). Students are constructing the lessons to be tested by their peers then tested again with another class.  You are not only building a lesson environment in a virtual world but you move through that world using google cardboard, while hitting those content elements of Math and L.A. This leads to observation, where mistakes are made and students need to adapt and restructure their way of thinking based on the failure of their previous experience.  This is discovery and the opening of the mind to new concepts, the teacher is only a guide in this process so the student takes ownership of their own knowledge construction.  


The final two phases are reflection and application.  When the project is complete I ask, what did my students take away from teaching the lesson?  Reflection can be self and peer based, synchronous as the lesson is occurring or asynchronous in a forum such as Edmodo. Are the ideas portable, which “means the problems addressed in the activities should involve concepts and practices that are applicable to diverse locations and situations, allowing learners to extrapolate their derived understandings to problems other than those to which they were exposed.” ( Bodzin,  Anastasio & Kulo. 2014). Can they take what they have learned, either the content or the tools they were exposed to and use it in a different context? Can they apply their new knowledge in a transformative way in a new situation. Did they learn about learning?  




Bodzin, A. M., Anastasio, D., & Kulo, V. (2014). Designing Google Earth activities for learning Earth and environmental science. In Teaching science and investigating environmental issues with geospatial technology (pp. 213-232). Springer Netherlands.


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

LFU to elicit curiosity in Elementary classrooms

While looking at the Learning-for-Use framework, I can see the connections to BC’s new curriculum and the big idea that weaves through the science curricular competencies: demonstrate curiosity about the natural world (BC Ministry of Education, 2015). Within the three steps of the Learning-for-Use model, I noticed the process of eliciting curiosity through activities (Edelson, 2000). I think it’s important for teachers to create a learning environment that supports questioning and curiosity. As I’ve mentioned before, in my class we have a ‘Wonder’ wall, where students add questions on post-it notes as we work through a big idea. It’s a visual reminder for students that all questions are important.

Luce and Hsi (2004) measured students interests in topics of science. “In line with current research on interest, we view curiosity as context relevant, but also learner driven. The learner can express curiosity as fleeting observations of wonderment and noticing inconsistencies or finding novelty in an object or through activity. For our purposes, we refer to curiosity in the context of scientific practices, i.e., wonderment or intrigue about the kinds of investigation and explanations that science seeks. Examples include activities such as engaging in scientific-like wonderment, question asking, experimentation, tinkering, pursuing an idea or following up on an inconsistency in knowledge, and ways of making meaning in scientific pursuits” (Luce and Hsi, 2004). Technology can be integrated to support inquiry and activities within the science curriculum to provide deeper learning opportunities.

After exploring My World GIS, I can see the impact it would have on middle school students. This software provides a rich experience for students as they are able to manipulate maps, customize, and investigate data, rather than simply read data from a textbook. It brings the curricular content to life. In our science unit this year, we used Google Earth Tours to learn about glaciers and how wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land. Students were amazed to see how they could manipulate the information and it sparked curiosity as students made their own observations. The next time I teach this unit, I will use Google Story Maps and include a 3D tour for scaffolding. What I appreciate about this software is that it motivates learning by introducing and teaching learners how to observe and explore through direct experience, communicate and describe processes, and apply new knowledge through hands-on activities (Edelson, 2000). I would combine both My World and Google Earth to explore land changes, and help provide hands-on inquiry opportunities for learners. Google Earth can be accessed at home, further supporting independent inquiry and encouraging students to take ownership over their learning.

How I would teach a grade 3 science unit using the LFU framework:

Big Idea: Wind, water, and ice change the shape of the land.

Sample questions to support inquiry with students:

  • How is the shape of the land changed by environmental factors?
  • What are landforms?
  • What landforms do you have in your local area?


“The motivation to acquire special skills or knowledge within a setting in which the student is already reasonably engaged” (Edelson, 2001).

I would use Google Earth and Google Story Maps to elicit curiosity. I would have students question and predict in small groups, and then create their own map and share with peers. (Ex. Groups could look at different landforms on Google Earth).


The second step in the learning process is the development of new knowledge (Edelson, 2001). I would use activities that provide students with direct experience. For example, YouTube clips, Brain Pop Jr videos, and Flocabulary rap songs. Students would work through structured inquiry to find answers to questions, and independent inquires on areas they would like to investigate further. 

The third step involves reorganizing knowledge, connecting it to knowledge, and reinforcing it to support its future retrieval and use (Edelson, 2001).

I would provide opportunities for students to apply what they learned in a meaningful way, and have students reflect on what they’ve learned, and how it connects to the world around them. Students could use iMovie to create a story or create a coding quest through Scratch to share their learning (also a great example of STEM:


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.

Luce, M. R., & Hsi, S. (2015). Science‐Relevant curiosity expression and interest in science: An exploratory study. Science Education, 99(1), 70-97. doi:10.1002/sce.21144

LFU activities in Mathematics

Reading about the LFU framework reminded me of the need for inquiry to be a bigger focus of Mathematical pedagogy. Below is a rough plan for how I would teach mathematical concepts using LFU:


This stage of the model is designed to capture the attention of the audience and to realize the need to acquire new knowledge. I would “motivate” students by giving them an inquiry type activity that forces them to question what they currently know and what they need in order to solve the problem at hand. For example, one method of leading students into the Pythagorean theorem would be to ask students to measure the side lengths, and the hypotenuse of different right triangles in attempts to decipher a relationship between the side lengths and the hypotenuse. After students see the pattern, they can then use the pattern to make predictions on the lengths of the hypotenuse on right triangles despite not being given a picture of the triangle. Surely at that point, students would begin to question the pattern that they have observed. At that point, students are ready to be introduced to the Pythagorean Theorem, which puts their observations against established mathematical fact, that if a and b are side lengths of a right triangle, and c is the hypotenuse, that a^2+b^2=c^2.


After students have learned the key concepts, I will now provide activities that give them “direct experience” with the said concepts. This could be practical examples that involve the particular mathematical rule, or it could extend the activity introduced at the beginning of class. To continue the Pythagorean theorem example, at this point in time, I would expose students to problems that require the use of the rule, one practical example could be the following:

How much farther would Jane walk to reach Albert if she went around the field, as opposed to directly across?

When I go over the solution to the problem, students would be receiving communication from myself, (or from other students in the class who have also solved the problem), which would allow them to build knowledge about the theorem and its uses.


After teaching the main concepts, I would provide other examples that offer a twist to the original problem to help students round out their understanding. Continuing the Pythagorean Theorem example, a classic refinement problem would be to ask the students to find one of the side lengths of the triangle given the length of the other side length, and the length of the hypotenuse. Solving this problem not only requires the students to understand the theorem, but forces them to literally reorganize the theorem so that they can work backwards to find the missing side length. It also offers students a chance to reflect upon their knowledge to see if they truly understand the theorem and its implications.

Constructing knowledge and structures

The Edelson (2001) articles presents us with a challenge that is not only unique to math and science teachers, but to educators of all subject areas in K-12: “teach more content more effectively, [and] devote more time to having students engage in [inquiry] practices” (p. 355).  Although multiple research articles as early at the 1960s have shown the benefits of inquiry learning, educators are resistant to change because of a perceived time crunch (Edelson, 2001).  We are presented with a design framework called the Learning-for-Use (LfU) model in an attempt to showcase how technology can be integrated to include both content and process learning.

LfU is based on 4 principles that many other contemporary learning theories utilize (Edelson, 2001):

  • Learning takes place through constructing new knowledge and modifying previous knowledge
  • Knowledge construction is goal directed
  • The situations in which the knowledge is constructed matters and affects its ability to be used in other circumstances

I am hard pressed to find a difference between LfU and constructivism.  A project that I would attempt with my Math 9  students would be to utilize a computer assisted drawing (CAD) program to challenge students to a design a structure and then determine the material costs associated with the structure; I would utilize this project to teach surface area and volume.  I would have to set parameters such as ensuring the structure had pillars of different shapes (cylinders etc) and also ask them to research actual prices of concrete, wood, and any other material they needed to complete their project.  From a motivational standpoint, they would determine the need to know how to figure out volume (how much concrete is needed for the support pillars) and surface area (how much paint do I need?).

Any thoughts on the project or gaps you might see?


Bodzin, A. M., Anastasio, D., & Kulo, V. (2014). Designing Google Earth activities for learning Earth and environmental science. In Teaching science and investigating environmental issues with geospatial technology (pp. 213-232). Springer Netherlands.

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. 10.1002/1098-2736(200103)38:3<355::aid-tea1010>3.0.CO;2-M

A “Bridge Building” reflection through a LfU lens

Using the LfU literature as a lens, I reflected on the “Back Country Bridge” project that my STEM 11/12 class did this past September.  At the time, I had never heard of Learning For Use as a design theory.  This is what we presented to the students on the first day:

“Research, design, and construct the lightest possible wood-frame bridge that will safely allow a 100 kg person to cross a 4.0 m crevasse.”

Students worked collaboratively in groups of three.  Evaluations were set as 50% for the final bridge performance, 25% for written tests, and 25% for shop procedures. There was some direct instruction on how to shape and fasten wooden members, how to analyze forces, and how to test for strength.  We assigned homework problem sets with relevant math and physics, and set a “prototype” testing day at the 2.5 week mark to keep the students from procrastinating.  The entire project was 4.5 weeks long.

In retrospect, here is how I think we faired relative to my paraphrasing of the four LfU tenets of design found in Edelson (2000, p. 375):

1.   Learning takes place through construction and modification of knowledge structures.

This is later defined as constructivism, and I think we are following a constructivist model of learning. We are quite purposeful in our attempt to ensure that projects end with the creation of an artifact, be that physical or digital.  The students really got into building and testing the bridges, so that seemed like a success.

2.  Learning can only be initiated by the learner, whether it is through conscious goal-setting or as a natural, unconscious result of experience.

I feel that this is really about authentic engagement.  Later in the paper, it clarifies:

“…although a teacher can create a demand for knowledge by creating an exam that requires students to recite a certain body of knowledge, that would not constitute a natural use of the knowledge for the purposes of creating an intrinsic motivation to learn”  (Edelson, 2000, p.375)

I like that he emphasizes that “academic threats” or extrinsic motivation are not authentic engagement.  I think we failed here in our bridge project.  Although many of the students got into the building and testing, we spent zero time considering if this project was relevant to students or how they experience their environment.  I chose the project because I do back-country travel, and I like bridges.  In other words, it was relevant to me.  In future, I would like to be more considered in our choice of projects, or find some way to involve students in the selection process.

3.  Knowledge is retrieved based on contextual cues, or “indices”.

This is called situated learning elsewhere in the literature (NLG, 1996).  For those of you who teach physics and mathematics, you’ll know that the analysis of bridge structures is about as situated as trigonometry and “static equilibrium” can get.  We did test to see if students could recognize contextual cues and transfer this knowledge to similar structures, like bicycle frames and chairs.  The results were so-so, and we discussed that as colleagues.  Perhaps we need to include more transfer exercises or reflections that ask students to place bridge analysis in a larger context, something Garcia & Morrell (2013) call “Guided Reflexivity”, and Gee (2007) calls “Critical Learning”.   We didn’t do much in the way of meta-cognition at that point in the year.

4.  To apply declarative knowledge, an individual must have procedural knowledge.

I had trouble with this tenet.  Isn’t this isn’t just a repeat of principle 1?  Since our students are working in groups in a constructivist model, the development of common vocabulary and declarative knowledge is fully necessary to communicate, or the project doesn’t move forward (which sometimes happens and requires intervention).  The act of design and successful iteration is the application of “procedural knowledge”, which has declarative knowledge embedded.  Maybe I’m missing something here.

Overall, I feel like LfU is just a merger of constructivism and basic cognitive learning theories.  My school’s program and projects would benefit a lot by being more purposeful about authentic engagement and helping students see their project as part of a larger domain of related problems.

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

Garcia, A. & Morrell, E. (2013). City Youth and the Pedagogy of Participatory Media. Learning, Media and Technology 38(2). 123-127.

Gee, J. 2007. Semiotic Domains: Is playing video games a “waste of time?” In What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy (pp.17-45). New York: Palgrave and Macmillian.

New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review. 66(1), 60-92.

LfU – What’s Your Motivation?

Through the use of GIS technology based applications, students are afforded the opportunity to apply skills and knowledge within authentic, real life situations that are similar to those experienced by experts in their field of work and study. From this, one of the key components of the LfU design model is to promote and support student development of deep, interconnected content knowledge and inquiry skills through activities that actively involve authentic scientific inquiry (Bodzin, Anastasio, & Kulo 2014). The LfU model also incorporates and characterizes the development of understanding as taking place through a three step process that includes motivation (experiencing the need for new knowledge), knowledge construction (building new knowledge structures), and knowledge refinement (organizing and connecting knowledge structures), which emphasizes the need for applicability in using knowledge and learning (Edelson 2001). With motivation as the essential starting point for student learning, applications such as Google Earth allow teachers to design tasks that follow LfU structures in teaching science and mathematics content through inquiry based activities. In order for knowledge to be truly useful, students must be motivated to learn specific content or skills through a personal understanding of the application of that content beyond the learning environment (Edelson 2001).

In terms of teaching an LfU based activity to explore mathematical and scientific concepts, educators need to start from the premise that student understanding must be incrementally constructed from experience and communication, as it cannot be simply transmitted directly from one individual to another. This involves the design of a learning task that engages and motivates the learner to find out more, often in the context of a situation that elicits prior conceptions and challenges these conceptions through the identification of gaps in the learner’s knowledge and understanding. By constructing new knowledge, and connecting it with existing knowledge, Edelson argues that a sense of curiosity, which he terms “situational interest,” creates a direct motivation to learn (2001). Through firsthand experience and observation, combined with the reception of information through communication with others, students construct understanding through a continuous, iterative process that leads them through progression, challenge, and sometimes, regression as they experience the target concept (Edelson 2001). Students must be afforded opportunities to engage in reflection and application of their own learning in order to foster knowledge refinement, thus allowing for a full integration of content and process learning.

As identified by Bodzin, Anastasio, & Kulo (2014), design activities must also incorporate scalability and portability, and they detail the applicability of Google Earth in structuring learning experiences for students that promote the development of linkages and connections between contexts that are personally meaningful and relevant. If tasks are structured in a format that provides appropriate levels of challenge within a reasonable time frame, and further promotes the application of knowledge and skills beyond the context of the specific learning task, students are afforded opportunities to participate in rich learning experiences that significantly deepen scientific and mathematical concepts and content.



Bodzin, A. M., Anastasio, D., & Kulo, V. (2014). Designing Google Earth activities for learning Earth and environmental science. In Teaching science and investigating environmental issues with geospatial technology (pp. 213-232). Springer Netherlands.

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.

Geographic conceptions

  • In what ways would you teach an LfU-based activity to explore a concept in math or science? Draw on LfU and My World scholarship to support your pedagogical directions. Given its social and cognitive affordances, extend the discussion by describing how the activity and roles of the teacher and students are aligned with LfU principles.

Traditionally educators view content and process as having competing priorities, designing technology-supported inquiry to address memorization and recitation. Since classroom resources and time are scarce, evaluating Learning-for-Use (LfU) requires considerable risk and reward in pedagogical reform. Given a preliminary understanding of MyWorld, I can imagine teaching lessons on comparing geographical precipitation and energy balance in different biomes. Or for motion kinematics, measuring distances between cities and travel times enables contextual learning of average and instantaneous velocities. With albeit out-dated information, LfU compiles and visualizes actual data files, superimposing mapview layers to customize appearance based on range of interest. Students can make predictions before exploration, clicking underlay to graph entire/current selections, comparing data sets with parallel cursor movements, creating actual difference graphs averaging statistics using colour to define categories. Dynamically interacting real-world data mimics authentic science practice, operationalizing inert knowledge towards construction, forming connections towards accessible goals. Learners initiate reflection progressing incrementally given stepwise elaboration, creating appropriate indices to retrieve memory as useable knowledge.

MyWorld and Google Earth promote spatial thinking and geographic conceptions, producing environmental citizens that make sustainable decisions. Inquiry-based investigations of sea ice distribution and local weather phenomena are current, valid and essential for persistent understandings and multiple intelligences (Bodzin et al., 2014). Constructivist models enable cognitive flexibility, iteratively promoting teacher pedagogical content knowledge to accommodate differentiated learners. Construction does not invalidate reading, viewing and listening, actively making observations through personal experience and peer communication, applying sense-making to interact with the world. In particular, LfU frameworks purposely lack absolute solutions, asking learners to evaluate priorities where for example urban expansion results in vegetation loss, automobile dependence, along with diminished heat dissipation. Students interpret time-sequenced data to explore alternative energy sources and efficient practices to minimize environmental impact. LfU reveals misconceptions and deficits to promote innovation, achieving both scalability and portability engaging learners with motivating contexts personally relevant to daily lives. To minimize visualizations detracting from learners, teachers encourage understanding with embedded prompts to focus observations.

Traditional inform, verify and practice become transmission which does not acknowledge motivation and refinement. The LfU approach uses exploration, discovery and invention to build contextual interpretive framework, eliciting curiosity from direct experience reinforced by reflection (Edelson, 2001). Technology guided investigations pose violations of expectations developing authentic motivation to naturally apply knowledge, where situational interest articulates prior conceptions to activate existing knowledge. LfU grounds abstract understanding in concrete experience, providing simulations to participate in guided discovery focusing on accessibility and applicability when faced with demands and limitations. LfU addresses the content process dichotomy by combining effectiveness and efficiency in time-limited system.


Bodzin, A. M., Anastasio, D., & Kulo, V. (2014). Designing Google Earth activities for learning Earth and environmental science. In Teaching science and investigating environmental issues with geospatial technology (pp. 213-232). Springer Netherlands.

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.

Around the World with…the Learning for Use Pedagogy

Around the World with…the Learning for Use Pedagogy

I enjoyed reading your great subject headers for this forum-they are a way to entice your audience to read your post. Thank you also to GIS newcomers who have taken on the challenge of learning new software over the last ten days! As several of your posts hypothesized, GIS software has technological capacities to assist us in the construction, visualization, and analysis of geographic information. I have read each of your posts and responses. The research on student alternative conceptions, constructivism, learning with the LfU pedagogy, and other pedagogical frameworks we have studied in Module B such as WISE were reported well in your posts to support your ideas about teaching. There were also incorporation of quotations directly from the research by that enriched our discussions of how we might teach math or science as an integrated experience.

LfU as a pedagogical framework was applied across many different subjects and topic areas in your examples of how to teach. For example, what the LfU framework does, is it packages these principles up in a clear, understandable way. (Similar to Newton’s Three Laws! At least for me…) So, the topic that I would like to touch on is one that I have taught for my entire career of 18 years—linear equations. Your posts on LfU were applied to teaching: math, earth science topics such as plate tectonics, social justice, science, teaching with literature, scientific inquiry, biology, engineering, environmental education, forestry, iconic building structures, and mapping the town in which you live. The variety of k-12 topics collectively illustrate how such a transfer of principles, concepts, and technologies can begin to occur across age levels and teaching and learning contexts.

We were treated in this forum to several examples also of how we might use LfU in combination with other digital technologies, such as interactive LfU lessons that used a SMART board, or LfU lessons with Gizmos through the Explore Learning website ( and its math and science topics which would allow students to explore such concepts as Weather and Climate, Tidal Effects, Seasons, and Topographic Maps rather than GIS. An additional example in the same vein as the drawings by Camilla, using LfU and iMovie and an online game, “[students] could create an evolution video on how their world was formed using iMovie or other similar software applications; Activity 2 is a teacher-led discussion on the concepts of red blood cells, antigens, and antibodies using analogies like donuts and sprinkles, animations and videos for visualization purposes, as well as manipulative models using tools like Play-Doh so that different learning styles are touched upon during the activity….Students are then taken to the computer lab where they all have access to the Blood Typing game (2017) presented by that helps students practice blood transfusions on fictitious patients in attempt to save their lives.  Another example, to name a few: Desmos Faces were integrated in an LfU framework for a math lesson: Through an inquiry process, students eventually construct a simple face using horizontal and vertical lines. There is a collaborative component to the pre-made, online activity, as well. As reflected by authors in philosophy and science studies, scientific and mathematical thinking is mediated by interactions among people, and the various models, tools, and artifacts they work and think with (Latour, 1990; Lemke, 1998, 2000). This capacity to envision how a pedagogical framework may be applied to different technologies permits us to release being tethered to one particular tool and shift to overarching designs of the entire learning experience (or TELE). Well done in stretching your designs for learning for use to include an array of digital technologies.

Several posts raised students’ alternative conceptions: “water is always colder than land”, “water is always warmer than land”, “can light can be felt or heat.” It was further noted in your posts that students are not likely to change their understandings in science until they notice contradictions to existing ones and that constructing relationships is a way to breach this divide (DeLaughter, Stein, Stein & Bain, 1998). This “noticing” can occur independently but is much more likely to happen with teacher guidance and the creative design of the learning environment. We hear from Radinsky about what teaching strategies look like in an LfU environment, for example, the teacher can “review shared assumptions, reference from other’s work, combine separate ideas, create multiple shared representations, leverage peers’ language and clarify ideas, and then develop new shared explanations” (Radinsky et al, 2010). There were additional teaching strategies developed to support noticing, dissonance, and enrichment from your posts, for example: we could leverage forestry map overlay from arcGIS to examine how our local forest has changed over type…. My role would entail more the curation of generative data sets that the distribution of facts. Another example of teaching strategies: When working with measurement in math, and specifically with unit conversions in early high school, LfU-based activities can involve students exploring the actual space of the classroom, school, and school yard to look for patterns in relationships between measurements taken using different measurement devices… The teacher can help to build a common record of findings and patterns, working towards conversion rules.  Another example, to name a few, included assessments provided by the teacher where the teacher integrates LfU with varying levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, from knowledge and comprehension, to application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation of the world around them (Moore, n.d.) and a rubric (see assessments fr. Dana).

Your posts also explored how GIS technology might be used to learn about the local environment, with attention to using math or science to do so. To name just a few: Here in the United Arab Emirates using GIS is a rather new phenomenon. This puts the information into context.  We can then expand and take a look at iconic building in the UAE such as Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and the man-made Pal Jumairah and compare their square footage to their homes. Combining place-based learning with GIS tools offers opportunity for indigenous and western learners to gain a deeper understanding of their local world, and intuitively of the world beyond them. Inquiries related to physical environmental changes, population increase or decline of species, migration patterns and weather patterns are all relevant areas of situated learning for both indigenous and western learners. I liked the Google Earth activity of adding paths and polygons and how it could relate to our “Frolicking Friday” adventures. Every Friday we take our learning outside to our local area. Often this is in the form of treks down in the gully beside our school, and walks to our neighbour.

It was important that students’ cognitive processes were evaluated in tandem with the LfU teaching strategies and the cognitive and social affordances of various technologies. Your posts exemplified this analysis of what is happening with the student in these TELE: application and reflection are both critically important to the development of useful knowledge. It was one of the aspects of the WISE projects that I appreciated, there was time for the students to go back and revisit some of the information and reflect on what they had learned. Students need to be able to bridge the gap between the real and digital worlds (Perkins et al, 2010).  It is valuable to teach students how to use GIS when it comes to place-based learning because it gives them a tangible experience that they can relate to. It is important that students establish spatial awareness. Introducing the book in an interdisciplinary science and social justice activity: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: William Kamkwamba. William used his knowledge of science, his imagination and found materials to create a windmill for his town. He harnessed the only natural resource available and used it to better the lives of the villagers. Students could use Google Earth technology to view the African landscape and look for other suitable locations to build wind turbines. They are able to manipulate variables and “see” the outcome. To aid student understanding of basic bridge structures (namely, trusses), a domain specific bridge building simulator can be used to allow students to test and verify their ideas: reading Edelson’s description of the LfU process, I realised that my unit plan could be separated into the three stages discussed above.

These excerpts are just a few of the many richly detailed examples of your thinking about the guided integration of a framework with technology in support of student learning. Way to go all around (the world and the scholarship, I might add).

Best regards, Samia