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Enrich Place-Based Education Using a Variety of Tech Tools

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Lecture

Tuesday, December 1, 11:30 am–12:15 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Laura Davies  
Madelyn Davies  

Discover creative and engaging ways to enrich place-based learning opportunities for students. Learn how to use digital microscopes, Mystery Skype and Flipgrid, build a classroom website and blog, and create student podcasts to strengthen the students' sense of place while learning about the world beyond their school and community.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Library media specialists
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Flipgrid App
Wakelet Account
Google Drive
Topic: Communication & collaboration
Grade level: 3-5
Subject area: Language arts, Social studies
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.
Creative Communicator
  • Students publish or present content that customizes the message and medium for their intended audiences.
Additional detail: Student presentation, Session recorded for video-on-demand

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The session will focus on enriching place-based education with a variety of technological tools. We will review the benefits of place-based learning, specifically the increases in student engagement and the potential for students to become active members of their community. Participants will learn several ways to integrate place-based learning into different subjects, including reading, writing, social studies, and science by utilizing a variety of technological tools. Participants will learn how to set up and lead Mystery Skype sessions in which students guess the location of the other students' school. The session will examine the benefits of having students share about their place and culture with the other class during Mystery Skype. During the session participants will learn to make videos on Flipgrid and share them with students around the world. Laura will also share her experiences using Flipgrid to make things such as: student made self-evaluations videos for parents, book review videos, and Augmented Reality (AR) for artwork and science projects. Laura will review simple methods for enriching place-based education such as making digital microscopes readily available for students to use, creating student podcasts, and posting students' writing on a classroom blog. Madelyn will share her insight and personal experiences using all of these tools.


1. What is Place-Based Education, why is it important and how it benefits students (5 minutes)
2. Mystery Skype: Learn how to organize and lead a mystery skype session, student roles, and creative ways to share facts about your community. Madelyn will model how students can share facts with other students. Laura will ask the audience to share facts about their communities. (20 minutes)
3. Flipgrid; Learn how to make grids and videos, how to share these with classmates, family members, and other students around the world. Learn how to add AR (Augmented Reality) Flipgrid to artwork, social studies, and science projects. Learn how to personalize self evaluations and book chats by using Flipgrid. Participants will get a chance to watch a student made Flipgrid video and make one of their own. (20 minutes)
4. Learn about simple and effective ways to integrate technology into place-based learning by using digital microscopes, student created podcasts, and building a classroom website and blog. Participants will have a chance to view Laura's classroom website and blog.(15 minutes)

Supporting research

Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Connections by David Sobel
Beyond Ecophobia: Reclaiming the Heart in Nature Education by David Sobel
Childhood and Nature: Design Principles for Education by David Sobel
Black Ants and Buddhists by Mary Cowhey
Indigenous Children's Survivance in Public Schools by Leilani Sabzalian

More [+]


Laura Davies, Stikine Middle School

Laura grew up in Ontario, Canada, but has lived in Alaska since 2003. She taught fifth grade for 13 years, before moving over to middle school this year. She is currently teaching science, math, and computer science to students in grades 6-8. Laura and her students love to collaborate with students from around the world and share facts about their wonderful community using Skype and Flipgrid. She is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert. She is joined by her 11-year-old daughter, Madelyn who is a student in her class this year.

Madelyn Davies, Evergreen Elementary School

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