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Designing For Participation

Written by Rebecca Itow
September 05, 2011

How do we engage students in meaningful ways with the curriculum and content prescribed by the powers that be, relay life lessons, and effectively prepare students for the state assessments? This is a question that has long troubled teachers, administrators, and just about everyone involved in education. Is there a way to adequately prepare students so they perform at the necessary levels to satisfy state and federal goals, while teaching effectively? The answer is yes, and one avenue to achieving this goal lies in an education framework we call Designing For Participation (DFP).

Through years of work with classroom teachers and students, Indiana University researchers, and graduate students, a kind of framework has been developed to engage students in active participation with content. We treat academic concepts (e.g. character analysis and the idea of literacy) as “tools” that students can use to help them succeed in their academic, professional, and personal lives. However, before students can use the tool, they must first pick it up and explore it, try it out, and use it in some familiar settings.

We have developed several modules based on a curriculum framework that are centered on using 21st Century and traditional resources to engage students and teach the skills outline int he Common Core Standards. Our goal is to share these modules with other teachers and learn about their experiences with the modules. These are meant to be used, altered, and refined based on the student population and as technology and society grow and change. 

We hope you will read more about our work, explore these modules, and engage in a meaningful discussion about your experiences with the modules. If you alter a module significantly, we also encourage you to create a resource about that experience so others may learn from you as well. 

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