Personalizing Student Learning with Good Pedagogy
Krista Moroder entered the classroom four years ago with big plans for integrating technology. Soon after accepting an English
teaching position at Reedsburg Area High School
in Wisconsin, USA, she set to work on a technolo-gy-enhanced learning environment.
“I immediately built a paperless, hybrid online
classroom using a blog and a learning management
system,” she says. “But I realized very quickly that
my students weren’t engaged, and that I had
simply replaced poor pedagogy with the digital
She discovered that good teaching requires
more than technology alone. A combination
of quality pedagogy and the effective use of
ed tech is what works. Taking this philosophy
to heart has helped her tailor lessons for
students like never before.
“I firmly believe that technology does not
engage students. Good teaching engages
students,” she says. “That said, I still strongly
believe in the use of technology in educa-
tion, and here’s why: I could only personalize
learning to a certain degree without it.”
In time, Moroder learned to build rich,
performance-based assessments and to use
many tools, such as Moodle, blogs, and video,
as a regular part of her teaching. All the while,
she hasn’t lost sight of the importance of keep-
ing students engaged.
An example is Reedsburg High’s video
production class and student news station
( www.rahs-news.com). During her last year
at the helm, students became bored with
some of the repetitious production work,
so Moroder challenged them to make it fun
again. What ensued was creativity gone wild.
“Within a few weeks, we were filming an all-school music video with more than 700 students, complete with choreographed dancing,
costumes, live farm animals, a Humvee, and a
plane,” she says.
Her students finished the video with aerial
footage showing the entire high school raising colored pieces of paper that spelled out the
“That project reinforced everything my professors taught me
about backward design and problem-based learning. Students
learn best from authentic experiences, and they are most engaged when they are given audience, relevance, and choice,” she says.
Moroder has quickly gained a reputation as an ed tech innovator.
She became Wisconsin’s first Google Apps Certified trainer,
and ISTE named her an Emerging Leader in 2012.
She is now a district tech integrator and works
with several hundred teachers as a trainer. In this
role, she quickly discovered that after-school
workshops were not going to reach everyone,
That project took off, and she is now collaborat-
ing with 15 other tech coordinators to build it,
complete with templates, screen captures,
and videos of real teachers explaining
how technology personalizes learning.
“I developed the original frame-
work based on the NETS and plan
to use the course to inform the
long-term technology planning
in my district, which includes
upgrading our infrastructure,”
Moroder says her district
plans to register the course
under a Creative Commons
license so that everyone can
use it. The course doesn’t
push the latest apps or tools
but instead shows teachers
how technology can improve
the effectiveness of their work
and support the personalized
learning activities that are already
going on in their classrooms. This
aligns nicely with Moroder’s efforts
to keep learning personal.
“I had a lot of great teachers, and they
were great because they knew how to per-
sonalize learning for all of their students,”
Moroder says, “not because they stuck us
in front of a computer screen!”
—Paul Wurster is managing editor for L&L.