“With some research, creativity, and professional development, any school can stop talking about becoming a 21st Century school and confidently become a 21st Century School (Byrne, 2009).” Technology is becoming more and more embedded into classroom instruction. Some of these technologies include using Web 2.0 application, project-based learning (PBL), and using classroom response systems, otherwise known as clickers, in the classroom. These technologies offer some of the latest and best practices in using technology effectively to engage students’ within learning environments. Web 2.0 applications are free which any educator can use to enhance their instruction. Technology by itself will not create more engage or better students,
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These sites are all very easy to implement and can be used throughout instruction from before, during, and after. Project-based learning (PBL) is based on real-life learning, and is appropriate for all ages and multiple intelligences. PBL is a way that educators can engage students in an enjoyable, rich, and demanding learning environment (Page, 2006). Within the PBL framework, students are asked to collaborate and working together to make sense of what is going. Students who are involved in project-based learning are asked to pursue solutions for classes in many ways such as: debating ideas, making predictions, drawing conclusions, and the creation of student artifacts. In creating a PBL environment educators will ask the students to use a combination of the Internet, teacher created rubrics, authentic assessments and worksheets to help the instructor teach grade level specific content. Once educators create their activities they can share them via the Internet on their intranets or on a web-based application like Wikispaces. A school district in North Carolina made PBL as part of their five year technology plan, and they trained their staff based upon the following principles for PBL (McGrath & Sands, 2004):
• Even older students learn when they collaborate and build upon what they already know.
• Students should be encouraged to engage in dialogue either through a Wikispaces or blogging.
• The role of the teacher may be viewed as a