Leadership Exchange
at ISTELive 22
Edtech Industry
Network Summit
Creative Constructor
Lab Virtual
Edtech Advocacy &
Policy Summit

Learner Agency: Bringing Curiosity, Play, and Joy to Learning

Participate and share

Participate and share : Interactive lecture

Monday, June 24, 10:30–11:30 am
Location: 204AB

Barbara Bray   Kerry Gallagher   Michael Mohammad  
In this session, we will share how learners become curious when they know how they learn best. Then, imagine adding voice, choice, and play to the mix! Join us in activities where we explore tools, resources, and joyful learning experiences that encourage curiosity, empower learning, and develop agency.

Audience: Coaches, Teachers, Principals/head teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: QR code reader
Smartphones with camera
Google Drive
Peardeck.com and @PearDeck Power-Up Extension for Chrome
Google Slides
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Communication and collaboration
Grade level: PK-12
ISTE Standards: For Administrators:
Digital Age Learning Culture
  • Provide learner-centered environments equipped with technology and learning resources to meet the individual, diverse needs of all learners.
For Educators:
  • Model and nurture creativity and creative expression to communicate ideas, knowledge or connections.
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

Educational or infrastructure challenge/situation.
Teachers find it difficult to have the time or opportunities to build personal relationships with students. The focus has been on academics and meeting standards not encouraging curiosity and joy. Participants will walk away with several ideas that they can use right away with their students to develop connections through play.

Technology intervention. Include specific names/titles and descriptions if tools are not widely known and available.
Teachers can open doors to the world with programs like the UN Sustainable Development Goals or collaborate with their peers with FlipGrid. Curiosity starts with a question and participants will use QR codes and post-it notes to brainstorm and investigate.

Models employed. Include a brief description.
Most conference sessions are "sit and get." Some teachers feel uncomfortable if they are asked to participate when they thought the presenter was going to "teach" them. When you get people to talk to each other right away, it changes the comfort level. There are activities that include individual curiosities using technology, pair/shares, small table groups, and large groups playing and laughing together.

Lesson plans or instructional activities/strategies employed. Include a brief description of your instructional electronic resources or tools used.
We will be sharing ideas and strategies that can be employed as part of

Evidence of success.


I. Welcome - Overview (8 minutes)
A. Introductions with links to resources
B. Find a picture on your phone that represents JOY and share with neighbor
C. Take a silly selfie with others and post on Twitter

II. Pair/Share - Happy Talk active listening activity (5 minutes)
A. Share what brings you joy with another
B. Share without talking what brings you joy to each other

III. Getting to Know YOU and Each Other (15 minutes)
A. Spectrum of Voice [graphic]
B. Intro Learner Profiles
C. Examples of ePortfolios
D. Stories about Student Voice and Agency
1. UN SDGs
2. Flipgrid
3. Peardeck

IV. Choices Matter (15 minutes)
A. Opportunities for Choice [graphic]
B. Activities involving multiple choices in the classroom
C. Ideas for Personal Professional Learning
D. Examples of tools, resources, and activities

V. Connecting with Play (12 minutes)
A. Levels of Engagement [graphic]
B. Break up into groups of 10-12
C. Each group creates a machine that they name

VI. Closing Q&A (5 minutes)

Supporting research

Bray, B. and McClaskey, K. Make Learning Personal: The What, Who, Wow, Where, and Why. 2015. Corwin Press.

Bray, B. & McClaskey, K. How to Personalize Learning: A Practical Guide for Getting Started and Going Deeper. 2017. Corwin Press.

Heick, T. The Role of Play in Learning. 2015. TeachThought. https://teachthought.com/learning/the-role-of-play-in-learnin/

Kaufman, S. 10 Insights to Enhance the Joy of Learning. 2012. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/beautiful-minds/201208/10-insights-enhance-the-joy-learning

Martin, K. Learner Centered Innovation. Spark Curiosity. Ignite Passion, and Unleash Genius. 2018. IMPress.

Robinson, Ken with Lou Aronica. Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education. Penguin Books.

Shareski, D. Embracing a Culture of Joy. Solutions for Creating the Learning Spaces Students Deserve. 2017. Solution Tree Press.

Smeda, N., Dakich, E. & Sharda, N. Smart Learn. Environ. (2014) 1: 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40561-014-0006-3

Wolk, S. Joy in School. ASCD. September 2008 | Volume 66 | Number 1 |The Positive Classroom Pages 8-15 http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept08/vol66/num01/Joy-in-School.aspx

More [+]


Barbara Bray, Rethinking Learning

Barbara Bray hosts her podcast, Conversations on Learning, is the co-author of Make Learning Personal and How to Personalize Learning, and founder/owner of My eCoach (my-ecoach.com). She posts on her blog, Rethinking Learning (barbarabray.net), and is a national and international speaker, keynoter, and difference maker. Barbara has been on a lifelong mission to transform teaching and learning with the use of technology and innovative practices that includes using design thinking with personalized learning and Global Goals. By acquiring the skills all learners need, we develop our passions to discover our WHY.

Kerry Gallagher, St. John's Prep

Kerry Gallagher is Assistant Principal for Teaching and Learning at St. John’s Prep in Danvers, Massachusetts. She’s also Director of K-12 Education for ConnectSafely.org – internet safety non-profit in Palo Alto, California – a FutureReady Instructional Coach, ASCD Emerging Leader, Adobe Education Leader, PBS LearningMedia Digital Innovator, and EdSurge Columnist. She served as middle & high school teacher and digital learning specialist for over 15 years. Kerry is a TEDx & keynote speaker and lawyer by training. She’s been recognized by Family Online Safety Institute (2015), MassCUE (2016), SmartBrief and St. Anselm College (2018). Find her @KerryHawk02 and www.KerryHawk02.com.

Michael Mohammad, Brookfield Central High School

Mike Mohammad has been teaching science at the secondary level for 18 years. Mike attended University of Wisconsin Madison where he received his degree in Secondary Education in Broadfield Science and Biology with additional certifications in chemistry and physics. He received his Master’s Degree in Educational Design and Technology from Concordia University.His interests in education focus on putting students at the center of their own learning experience. He has a passion for using technology to help learners access & engage with content and express their understanding. He is a Google Certified Educator and Apple Teacher.

People also viewed

Drone Technology and Applications in the Classroom
Stranger Google! Crazy Tools From the Upside Down
Using Technology to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Classroom