A Systems-Based Instructional Framework

We believe that the goal of schools should be Efficacy, which begins with Empowerment, which begins with Engagement. Efficacious students can change the world! We accomplish this goal through the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom™.

As described in Students Taking Charge by Dr. Nancy Sulla, students engage in real-world problems that provide a “felt need” for building curricular skills and concepts. They learn independently and collaboratively with classroom colleagues and others around the world. They use technology seamlessly as a tool for learning. They manage projects, set goals, assess progress, identify resources for learning, and more!

“The Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom™ is a framework that includes problem-based, Authentic Learning Units (ALUs), a collection of structures that put students in charge of their own learning, and powerful teacher facilitation of learning” (Sulla, 2019).

Download the IDE Corp. White Paper: 
Addressing Learning Losses, Equity, and SEL Needs Through
The Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom

The Five Paradigm Shifts

From Classroom-Based to Learning Anywhere, Anytime

The pandemic-related school closures of 2020 and 2021 shined a light on how “teacher-dependent” classrooms are, with the “lesson” being the core element. This approach did not prove to be effective when schools switched to remote and hybrid instruction. Rather than being teacher-dependent, learning environments need to become “student-dependent,” with students taking charge of their own learning. The core element of the classroom environment should be “student curiosity and drive” to ensure that learning continues beyond classroom walls and the school day.

From Lesson First to Felt Need First

Students who are motivated delve more deeply into content, produce more, and retain more when their efforts are driven by a personal “felt need” to learn. In a more traditional approach to education, the teacher presents information to the students through a series of lessons. At the end of the unit, the teacher may provide a test or project for the students to complete. Students may perform adequately on the test or project, but just a few weeks later may not remember the content. If teachers were to begin by presenting students with an authentic, problem-based task, students would have a felt need to learn and retention of content would improve.

From Ferry to Bridge Builder

Student agency, which leads to greater student engagement and, thus, retention of learning, depends on teachers shifting their roles from being purveyors of information to being architects and facilitators of complex learning environments that provide students with differentiated opportunities to learn, combined with choice and voice in their learning paths.

From Information Deliverer to Facilitator of Learning

Given the shift away from “teacher-dependent” learning environments, the teacher must shift focus from disseminating information and lessons (much of which can be found already on the internet) to curating a powerful collection of learning opportunities, and then facilitating learning to ensure that all students achieve at high levels.

From Grading the Transactions to Grading the Transfer

Using a problem-based approach to instruction requires teachers to become facilitators in the process, ensuring that all students learn at high levels and produce powerful solutions; any grading of the outcome product would reflect the teacher’s efforts more than those of the students. Therefore, it is important for teachers to implement assessment strategies that determine if, as a result of the problem-based unit, students can transfer that knowledge to other situations.

The Ten Principles

The Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom™ is based on ten guiding principles, which research shows are present in successful classrooms. The Ten Principles are not part of a packaged product or based upon one theorist’s research. They have emerged from years of observing successful teachers, the most recent data on how children learn, and the best practices in curriculum and instruction.

  1. Learning From a Felt Need — Students are presented with meaningful, higher-order activities that create the context for learning and build a “felt need” to learn the lower-order skills.
  2. High Academic Standards — All students are expected to achieve at high levels utilizing the teacher, peers, and other resources to meet with success.
  3. Higher-Order, Open-Ended Problem-Solving — Problem-solving activities are the focus of the learning environment, setting a context within which to learn lower-order skills.
  4. Student Responsibility for Learning — Students take responsibility for setting goals, scheduling time, utilizing resources, and making other decisions.
  5. Connected Learning — Students see learning as being connected across the disciplines, to the “real world,” and to their own lives.
  6. Collaboration — Students engage in collaborative problem solving on open-ended problems with peers, working independently on subtasks.
  7. Individual Learning Paths — Teachers differentiate instruction and assignments to meet the needs of each individual learner.
  8. High Social Capital — Students have strong, consistent relationships with adults in school; parents and other adults are involved as partners in the learning process.
  9. Technology Infusion — Technology is used as a tool and a resource to support learning and not seen as a goal unto itself.
  10. Global Citizenship — Students understand their role as contributors to a global society and make strides to contribute to the betterment of their world.


“ERCSD 2019 Summer Bridge Program” by East Ramapo Central School District

“How Does the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom Benefit Students” by the White Plains Public Schools

“Students Take Active Role in Classroom Through Innovative Designs for Education” by the Bronxville School

Chester Taylor Principal Julie Marks is a co-author of Students Taking Charge Implementation Guide for Leaders.

“Beginning the Journey to Learner-Active Classrooms at Chester Taylor Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

“Reflecting on Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms at Chester Taylor Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

“Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms at Chester Taylor Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms Year Two at Chester Taylor Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

“LATIC Year Three at Chester Taylor Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

“Chester Taylor Elementary Learner-Active, Technology-Infused School” by Pasco County Schools

“Mission: Engage! Problem-Based Learning” by the South Orangetown Central School District

“Centennial STEM Magnet Middle School” by Pasco County Schools

“Bayonet Point STEM Magnet LATIC School” by Pasco County Schools

“Learning About Energy in the 3rd Grade Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom” by Pasco County Schools

“Making Learning Meaningful. Authentic Learning at Schrader Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

“Structures of a LATI Classroom at Sanders Memorial Elementary” by Pasco County Schools

Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classrooms Spring 2016″ by White Plains Public Schools