Keep Your Classroom Discussions Going with KQED Learn

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You already know the importance of student discussion, and you've been engaging your students in this practice throughout the school year. Now that you’ve moved to distance learning, how do you continue to encourage students to employ the complex thinking strategies involved in student discourse? That’s where KQED Learn comes in!

KQED Learn is a free, online platform where middle and high school students can practice academic discourse on debatable topics ranging from local to national in scope. Some examples of the video prompts include: How should schools decide on dress codes? Should the U.S. have Universal Healthcare? Students start by watching a video that gives a concise, balanced overview of a topic. Then, students write a response or create a Make & Share (i.e. a piece of media) to communicate their claims, backed by evidence and reasoning. We have resources to make KQED Learn easy to implement in your remote classroom and the platform will remain just as useful as you transition back to in-person teaching in the future.

View the recording of our KQED Learn training webinar.

How to Introduce KQED Learn in Your Remote Classroom

  1. Determine your expectations and structures. You can make a copy of our discussion rubric and adapt it to meet the needs of your class. We also have a model response you can show students so they know what they’re aiming toward. Develop a routine around KQED Learn Discussions. For example, you can choose a different discussion to do as a class each week, or task students with responding to a peer from a different school or with a differing opinion.
  2. Discuss with students what this platform is and why they are using it. The idea of developing a claim, backed by evidence and reasoning, will be very familiar to them because they likely do this in your class all the time. You might offer them some other reasons, such as connecting with others, practicing evidence-based writing skills and having some fun making media.
  3. Create a teacher account and sign up your students. Next comes the logistics, but don’t worry--it’s easy to get your students set up on the site. You will create a teacher account and then add your classes. Each class will have a different join code. You’ll provide students with this code that they will use when they sign up for their student accounts. Follow these slides to walk through the process.
  4. Start posting! Now that everyone has an account and you have your processes and expectations in place, your students are ready to post! You can filter by subject area or grade level to choose the perfect discussion to kick off your classes on KQED Learn. All of your students’ responses will show up in your dashboard, and you can assess them using the rubric you created for your class.

We know that it can be a challenge to introduce new tools with your students, but we aim to make it as easy as possible and offer you support along the way. View the recording of our KQED Learn training webinar or reach out to us with questions at