Are you actively learning?

Active learning: what is it, how is it different then learning, and why should we know about it?

I had read a blog post today about the use of QR codes within a classroom. Now you might be wondering, what this even has to do with my topic of active learning. Don't worry, I'll link them in a few moments. QR codes are a newer "app" that has found its way into many classrooms. If you have a device with a camera and a QR code reader app of some kind, the world has now just opened new doors for you to explore!  QR codes are a simple box of random blocks that when scanned direct you to a specific location like a website, a video, or some kind of document.

If you want to check out QR codes or even create one of your own, you can check them out here.

This particular post was how students could use the codes to be able to fill in the blanks of famous quotes during Black History month. The students had access to the iPad and were able to walk around the room with a partner to determine what was missing in the quote. Now, this is where we start to connect this to the main topic, active learning. First, let's define active learning as learning in which a student is the leader in what they learn. They are the one controlling the plane, and lead us to their destination.

Why don't we see what active learning looks like. As I was reading the blog post mentioned above, I created a Padlet that allowed for me to add my notes, thoughts, and ideas on a digital board. I had the control in what was placed on my padlet, as well as the control of the layout and design.  I've included a screenshot of the padlet so you can see the information right away, but also please feel free to check out the live padlet and add in any additional thoughts! Click here to see the live padlet!
Screenshot of created padlet 
I really enjoy the use of padlet in a classroom setting, or even outside of a classroom. It was helpful to have a place to jot down ideas and have quick access to the link of the blog, There can be prompts already on the padlet to allow students to answer specific questions, but still allows for students to be creative with what information will be included into it. Active learning isn't just one student being in control, but also allows for the student to have access to others for collaboration; for which padlet is a great place to share ideas!

When developing any kind of lesson, it is always important to think of different ways to include active learning. No two students learn exactly the same way, and the idea of active learning opens up this space for the students to find new ways to learn, and feel motivated to keep learning because of it. I personally have not used the idea of QR codes in my classroom, but has been very curious about it. There are many aspects of ways to allow students to think outside the box and engage in some active learning, it just requires some extra digging and work. That work will bring forth some amazing works in the end. 

This school year, the students in my algebra 1 classes had a non-profit come into the classroom and talk about different aspects of career and college readiness. At the end of the year, students were asked to come up with some kind of 1-2 min response that talked about what they learned, and how they applied the topics to their everyday choices. I will leave you with this awesome video that one student created! 

Video by Eric


  1. Great video by Eric! We never know what the catalyst will be for our students. You should explore QR codes, they have so many possibilities!

  2. Wow Perry I never got to see this video! I remember you had told me one of your students made a video but it was great to see it in action. I don't recognize him but seems like a great kid. I love seeing the kids out of their math element and actually showing us what they enjoy. Seems like this kid has an interest in film and that is cool that he got to explore it and it might be something to think about in the future to reach him mathematically. I think we could definitely try out a QR scavenger hunt with math problems like we do for walk around activities. I know Punke did something like that last year around the school and it worked out pretty well.

  3. Hi Karen, I really appreciate your discussion of active learning and your explanation of QR codes. I have not used the codes but after reading your explanation and your padlet I am interested in trying them out. You made it sound fairly simple and awesome work for including a link, thank you!
    I also loved Eric's video, how wonderfully honest he is, and I think your end-of-year project was a great idea.
    Carol G.


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