Students as Digital Agents in Their Own Learning

Times and dates are displayed based on your device's time zone setting.

Listen and learn : Lecture

Cheryl Lemke  
In this era of remote learning, students need to be more independent and self-directed. Join this session for tips and techniques to ensure your students are more attentive and focused, as they independently manage and take responsibility for their own learning — digital agents in their own learning.

Audience: Coaches, Professional developers, Teachers
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices required
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Android, iOS, Windows
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: None. All are accessible without apps.
Topic: Student agency, choice & voice
Grade level: 6-12
ISTE Standards: For Educators:
  • Foster a culture where students take ownership of their learning goals and outcomes in both independent and group settings.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students articulate and set personal learning goals, develop strategies leveraging technology to achieve them and reflect on the learning process itself to improve learning outcomes.
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

With the advent of remote learning, students cannot succeed in learning unless they are active agents in their own learning. Self-directed learners take charge of their learning before they begin the studies, manage and adjust during the study, and then actively take ownership of results after learning. Educators will learn what agency and self-directed learning are, why they are critical to today's remote learners, and how a suite of digital tools can be employed to build and support the development of students' skills. Those tools include digital calendaring, reminders, collaborative tools, evaluative tools, visualization tools, spreadsheets, as well as goal setting, metrics, and digital tools for tracking and monitoring successes.


5 Minutes - Introduction through student story
5 minutes - self assessment by audience as to how self-directed they are
20 minutes - elements of student agency and self-direction will be presented and demonstrated, with 3 polls of audience introducing each segment
12 minutes - Audience will interact with student profiles and share ideas for how a teacher might react in ways that facilitate student agency, build self-direction in students, and create space for students to enact in self-direction
8 minutes Q&A

Supporting research

Dabbagh, N., Bass, R., Bishop, M., Costelloe, S., Cummings, K., Freeman, B., Frye, M., Picciano, A. G., Porowski, A., Sparrow, J., & Wilson, S. J. (2019). Using technology to support postsecondary student learning: A practice guide for college and university administrators, advisors, and faculty. Washington, DC: Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse. (WWC 20090001) Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance (NCEE), Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

Broadbent, J. (2017). Comparing online and blended learner’s self-regulated learning strategies and academic performance. The Internet and Higher Education, 33, 24–32.

Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School engagement: Potential of the concept, state of the evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59–109.

Lee, K., Tsai, P. S., Chai, C. S., & Koh, J. H. L. (2014). Students’ perceptions of self-directed learning and collaborative learning with and without technology. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, 30(5), 425–437.

Schunk, Dale and Zimmerman, Barry, ed.; Self-regulated Learning: From Teaching Practice to Self-Reflective Practice; Guilford Press; NY; 1998.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2000). Attaining self-regulation: A social-cognitive perspective. In M. Boekaerts, P. R. Pintrich, & M. Zeidner (Eds.), Handbook of self-regulation, (pp. 13–39). San Diego: Academic.

More [+]


Cheryl Lemke, Metiri Group

Cheryl Lemke leads the Metiri Group, a consulting firm that specializes in research, program evaluation, professional development, and systems thinking in digital learning and 21st Century skills. Lemke is considered a thought leader in the U.S. and internationally. Her firm partners with ISTE to offer virtual PD to introduce teachers to 3 ISTE student standards and currently works with and evaluates large digital learning projects in New Jersey, Utah, and CA. She brings over 25 years of experience in the public sector—as a teacher, state technology director, policy expert, director at a foundation, and associate superintendent for Illinois SBE.

People also viewed

From Information to Insight: Creating and Supporting a Data-Driven Culture
Let's Get Virtual: Tech Tools for Learning at Home
Reboot Education: It’s Time to Do It!