Pedagogy for Powerful Learning


Leveraging technology for critical thinking and creative expression.


Empowering teachers and students.


A chart showing the four areas of learning at the Digital Pedagogy Institute

The Pedagogy for Powerful Learning professional development experience supports educators in developing high-quality teaching practices that effectively leverage technology, materials, and thinking routines to create powerful learning for all students.

The institute teaches educators how to leverage technology to center learning around the learner as educators combine their imagination, content knowledge, and understanding of as students engage in content in ways that give them opportunities to construct their own meaning through creativity, problem-solving, and innovation. Students are empowered to be independent and curious learners– building upon skills and interests they bring to the classroom while nurturing and expressing their ideas, identities, and imaginings of themselves and the world.

In a classroom with effective use of technology, materials, and thinking routines, learners are supported to develop three habits of learning– connect, construct, and reflect. These habits of learning promote the learners' relationship with technological skills and mindsets in ways that unleash their imagination and creativity as they develop their identities as critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators.

The Institute goes beyond the concept of teaching with technology. Instead, it provides a way for teachers to develop pedagogical practices that authentically integrate digital tools and thinking routines, develop computational mindsets, and empower students to engage with the world around them in meaningful ways. The institute is designed for grade-alike teaching teams who are interested in becoming teacher leaders. Our approach is relevant for teachers from any school system that values student-centered hands-on learning experiences. Teachers will apply ideas introduced during the institute by engaging in a collaborative cycle of inquiry. 

Participants will:

  • Explore research backed practices that leverage technology, materials, and thinking routines to support development of creative, collaborative, and reflective habits in students

  • Think deeply about how and what students learn when creating with tangible and digital tools

  • Apply pedagogical approaches made possible by technology, materials, and thinking routines that move students from passive consumption to active creation and construction of knowledge and reflect on their effectiveness

  • Design authentic learning activities that align with content area standards 

  • Use technology to design and implement a variety of formative and summative assessments that provide ways for students to demonstrate competency and reflect on their learning

A Year-Long Institute

SMCOE, the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET), and the Graduate School of Education (GSE) Makery recognize that transformative professional learning occurs when teachers are afforded sustained and ongoing opportunities to apply and reflect. To that end, this program begins the cycle of inquiry during a 3-5 day institute and then provides support through the school year via four virtual group coaching sessions and 4 community of practice sessions. During coaching, teachers will meet with their teams in a video conference facilitated by an instructional coach.

During community of practice sessions, practitioners will meet with a broader group who are teaching similar content or grade level students and engage in continued professional learning experiences. These sessions are included in the institute tuition.

Who Should Attend?

  • K-12 teachers, administrators, and teachers on special assignments (TOSAs) employed in San Mateo County

  • Teams of two or more grade-level or content-alike practitioners from the same school or district

  • Teachers looking for meaningful collaboration opportunities from colleagues in other school sites or districts

Continuing Education Units (CEUs)

With full participation and attendance, participants will receive 3 CEUs issued by Stanford Center for Professional Development. The cost of CEUs is included in the price of the institution.

For more information, contact Sandra Velásquez or Christine Bywater.

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Portions of this work have been made possible through the generous funding by Oracle Giving.