Varying feedback

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

Story title: Varying feedback

Submitted by: Coral Connor
Northern Beaches Christian School

DL story: Through my involvement in the DLMOOC I have been challenged to rethink what feedback is actually meaningful for the student and conducive to further learning. For years I have marked in pink because red is psychologically damaging according to an article I read years ago.
I now feel an X for a Mathematics solution is equally off putting. I am circling the correct mtie choice response or writing in the final response after circling the first error.
I also used to award half a mark for a response that was not completely correct nor completely incorrect. I thought I was rewarding the student for starting to learn. I noticed the errors didn’t change so I started to only award a tick for a completely correct response.

Self-directing learning

Blended Learning & Differentiated Imstruction

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

Story title: Blended Learning & Differentiated Instruction

Submitted by: Gail Corbett Dandelske

DL story: I’ve created a Storify to share my learning journey with you.

Thinking critically, Doing relevant, engaging work

Brewing beer

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Story title: Brewing beer

Submitted by: Blair Matthews

DL story: The tax on alcohol is quite high in the UK, and the expense of a night out motivated me to start thinking about how I could make my own beer.

I don’t know anybody who makes their own beer – it doesn’t seem to be that common where I am (surprisingly) – so I have had to learn by myself. This involves using books, the Internet (videos have been particularly helpful) and asking questions at my local homebrew shop. I’ve made quite a few mistakes, not least having bottles of beer explode because I bottled my beer before fermentation was complete. However, I have started making some really nice beer.

Lately, I have been adding seaweed to my beer (from the beach near my home) which gives my homebrew a distinct feature that expensive supermarket beers don’t have. And at 50p for 500ml, it’s 1/5th of the price.

From brewing, I have built up knowledge of biology and chemistry (and a bit of physics). I have developed a much better feeling for the taste of beer, too and I have become a lot more discerning.

Moreover, brewing my own beer has given me confidence to start other things, like making my own cheese and baking my own bread. I also grow a lot more than I used to, which I use.

Making things

I Matter!

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

This is cross-posted from JoAnn’s blog at DoMoreEdu.

Story title: I Matter: Teacher’s Passion

Submitted by: JoAnn Delaney
Hershey Middle School

DL story: I matter! 2 simple words that I was inspired to have my students chant from their heart after hearing Angela Maiers!

I matter! 2 simple words I wanted my students to feel as they lived their passion during Genius Hour.

I matter! 2 simple words that students beamed as they changed the world in their own special way.

Today, as I “Think Outside The Storm,” the teacher is called on to share her passion.

My passion is having a profound world changing impact on every student! As I feverishly posted Vine videos and posts showing the enormous power children hold to change the world, I found myself driven with excitement!

As a result of providing my students with the gift of Genius Hour, they tapped their passions and created beautiful change.


This change opened our hearts to the world, sometimes bringing great joy and other moments heart-breaking hurt.

Students’ bravery is remarkable. Sully resiliently faced bullying and turned to bullied children to befriend them, “Speaking Life.” Kamrin rallied her friends and neighbors to collect items sent to Gambia, Africa! Dani, Emma and Jaelissa use their amazing voices to sing “Beautiful,” encouraging girls to find their beauty within. Charlotte loves animals so much that she collected and delivered needed items to the Humane Society. Makenzie created crayon dripped art for a hospitalized child and shared the message that anything is possible; believe in yourself! Alexa emotionally moved by a family member’s breast cancer, raised money to end the disease. Rachel made bracelets and delivered them to sick children at the hospital. Ainsley created homemade cards and gift baskets to deliver to the elderly. My students’ passionate gifts abound! I am humbled by their genius.

As a passionate educator my enthusiasm created possibility. These student actions began with an I wonder question, genuine interest and/or deep passion. The change of one affects many leading to powerful world change.

I believe that the smartest person in the world is the world! It starts with 1 passionate person and grows exponentially to world compassion.

I matter! I am genius! I am genius and the world needs my contribution!

We matter! We are genius! We are genius and together can change the world with our contributions!

Going back to the original questions that led to this blog post, What’s your passion, and what drives it? What’s your heartbreak? How will you use your genius to change the world?

I ask you, have I used my genius to change the world?

Genius Hour main site:
Genius Hour – Passion Projects

Vine videos:
I Am Beautiful
I Am Resilient
I Speak Life
I Helped Gambia, Africa
I Donated To The Humane Society
I Believe In Myself
I Will End Breast Cancer
I Care About Sick Children
I Visit The Elderly

DoMoreEdu Blog

Twitter @jdelaneyJoAnn

Thinking critically; Collaborating; Self-directing learning; Believing in yourself (academic mindsets); Doing relevant, engaging work

Why didn’t I get an ice cream?

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Story title: Why didn’t I get an ice cream?

Submitted by: Simon Buckingham Shum
Bushfield School, Wolverton / Open Univ. / Bristol Univ.


At Bushfield School, Wolverton, a multi-cultural primary school of about 300, in an area with some social deprivation, we are embedding learning dispositions and authentic inquiry methodologies into the DNA of the school in a long term programme, which started about 5 years ago:

We started by adopting the language for learning that has come from the University of Bristol Grad School of Education, called Learning Power, which has arrived at very similar conclusions and pedagogies to Carol Dweck’s mindsets research, and provides a self-diagnostic survey tool called ELLI which makes one’s dispositions visible:

Through continued work with Ruth Deakin Crick at Bristol, we have now started using a methodology called Authentic Inquiry* which gives students a lot of voice and choice about the focus of their inquiry projects, which must be on something they care about, and are run over 10 days with the whole curriculum cleared for this (apart from PE). We are trying to understand how well this works with primary age children (UK Years 5-6, aged 9-11) — e.g. how well can different ability children cope with such freedom, what scaffolds are needed, how do teachers monitor the progress of 30 different projects…?

A movie documenting a recent “AIP” (Authentic Inquiry Project) by Year 5, in which they all worked on a Fashion Show, is due out shortly, plus a report documenting it in detail. I’ll add links to these when they’re up. Blog posts with some photos at


Here’s a story illustrating just one learning journey. A Yr 6 girl, not an academic high flyer, chose as her focal object/person/place a photo of herself on the beach as a toddler. The AIP interview with her went something like this:

“Why did you choose this photo for your AIP?”

“Because it was a summer holiday at the seaside that I always looked forward to.”

“Who’s that in the photo?”

“My brother and sister.”

“What’s going in the photo?”

“Well, that day I asked mum for an ice cream, but she had said no. But then later my big brother got one, and when my little sister asked, she did too.”

“How did that make you feel?”

“Sad. Left out.”

“So what did you do next in your AIP then?”

“When I talked to my teacher about my photo, I learnt that there’s something called Middle Child Syndrome, which is all about children like me who sometimes feel left out. So then I wanted to research that.”

“How did you do that?”

“I went on the web and learnt all about it, and then I designed a questionnaire to give to other middle children in the class, and videoed them talking about it.”

This précis illustrates how one moves in the Authentic Inquiry methodology from a concrete object/person/place, through a process of close observation, then questioning, into bigger questions, which then begin to connect with the wider funds of knowledge out there. Staff reported that they had never seen her so engaged in her learning, and rated the impact for her (they did this for all pupils) as transformational. For others, this was not the case, especially with lower literacy levels, and those with learning difficulties, with lower self-regulation.


It’s a challenge to monitor the progress of 30 different AIPs in a given class. One approach we’ve trialled for 3 AIPs now is having all students blog in a period reserved for this at the end of each day. They use a specially extended version of the WordPress platform that we developed, called EnquiryBlogger: info and open source WordPress Multisite plugins:

This requires pupils to add categories to their posts which reflect the dimensions of Learning Power that they feel they are evidencing in the blog. E.g. “Resilience” when things really go wrong that day; “Curiosity” when they find themselves seeking out new information; “Learning Relationships” when they found that a peer could help them.

The tool then aggregates a visual spidergram as feedback to them on all the learning power dimensions they have blogged about, and the teachers get a dashboard of the whole class. It’s early days yet, it’s rough at the edges, but we have some encouraging results. A talk about this including a demo and student quotes are here:

* The academic grounding for the Authentic Inquiry pedagogy is detailed in this article:

Deakin Crick, Ruth (2009). Inquiry-based learning: reconciling the personal with the public in a democratic and archaeological pedagogy’, Curriculum Journal, 20:1,73-92. Open Access Eprint

Collaborating, Self-directing learning, Believing in yourself (academic mindsets), Doing relevant, engaging work, Making things

Deeper Learning for staff and students: a multifaceted story

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

Story title: Deeper Learning for staff and students: a multifaceted story

Submitted by: Simon Buckingham Shum
Open U. & Bristol U., UK

DL story: Hi all

I’m thoroughly enjoying tuning into this MOOC, exciting to see!

I thought you’d like to get a glimpse of what we’re doing in the UK, in a programme led by Ruth Deakin Crick (Grad School of Ed, Bristol University). She provides the educational research foundations, while I bring in the social learning tools and analytics. Here’s a movie of Ruth introducing her work:

Perhaps the following story is one of the best resources to start with, told from the perspectives of an educational researcher (Ruth), a secondary Headteacher (Rebecca), a learning tech researcher (me), and two teachers (Phil + Richard):

In this example, you will elements of many of the key themes in our conversations: shared language for learning, staff learning culture, student engagement, evidencing impact, and building an evidence base that connects researchers and practitioners.

The web survey tool for student (and staff) self-assessment of learning dispositions (what Dweck calls mindsets) may be of particular interest, since conventional assessment regimes and tools are not fit for purpose when it comes to making deeper learning qualities visible. This movie introduces the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory (ELLI) in the broader context of analytics for deeper learning:



Mastering core academic content, Self-directing learning, Believing in yourself (academic mindsets), Doing relevant, engaging work, Presenting work to a real audience

Who are you?

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

Story title: Who are you?

Submitted by: Gerald Dillenbeck
PermaCulture Homeschool

DL story: My 17-year son adroitly thinks in math and gaming universes; not so much in school and homework universes.

After pondering the prospect for two full years, he decided to take the risk of trying home-schooling with me, his dad, quite conveniently recently retired.

Two weeks ago we began our first session with a brief “Connecting” breathing exercise, some silence. Then we listed our “Intentions,” things we would intend to talk about during the next 90 minutes if that’s OK with the other.

Because I am facilitating, he begins with proposing to talk about, “Now what?”

I follow that with “Who are you?”

Rather than adding another proposed topic to the list, 17-year Son waives his turn, as do I. As facilitator it follows our protocol that I now choose which of the two items on our list for this first day we take first. However, I ask him if he has a preference. “Let’s go with yours.”

And so we did. Two weeks later we are still working on that question with each other, and we have yet to respond in exactly the same way more than once; rather like a population of snowflakes, Deep Learning our shared hydrogen roots.

Self-directing learning

The Art of Storytelling

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

Story title: The Art of Storytelling

Submitted by: Jim Stephens
DSST Public Schools

DL story: The year before last we had a professional storyteller, Angel Vigil, come to tell a few tales, go over the performance aspects of storytelling and also explain the value of stories to human culture. While the students were incredibly engaged by Angel’s stories and his passion for storytelling, the last part of the evening was an opportunity for students to tell their own stories using some of the skills that had been witnessed and shared. The vast majority of students who chose to participate were the students who usually struggle in the traditional classroom. What was beautiful about this deeper learning experience was the way they took a new skill, added their own passion and experience, and created an amazing learning experience for the entire community.

Presenting work to a real audience

A Night To Remember

(This is a part of the Deeper Learning Story Bank. Add your story!)

Story title: A Night To Remember

Submitted by: Heather Calabro
Mid-Pacific Institute

DL story: My students studied the World War II internment of Japanese Americans with a focus on the injustice close to home, here in Hawaii. Through an interdisciplinary unit, my students became so engrossed with the topic, that the unit stretched and grew to include a fundraiser, public student work showcase, and commemorative plaque. The story of this deeper learning is best told through the student-created documentary here:

and through the class blog post found here.

Mastering core academic content; Thinking critically; Doing relevant, engaging work; Presenting work to a real audience