Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

CTRL L: Leveling Up Student-Centered Learning with a Simple Shortcut

The simple shortcut Ctrl+L might seem insignificant, but it can be a powerful tool in a student-centered classroom.
CTRL L: Leveling Up Student-Centered Learning with a Simple Shortcut

As a teacher, I am passionate about creating student-centered classrooms. Here at Teacher Tech, we want to support educators with ways to integrate technology not just to be paperless or simply to save time, but to also consider how technology can support the pedagogy of student-centered classrooms. Using technology can be as simple as considering how a keyboard shortcut can support you and your students for more effective technology usage in a student-centered classroom. You see, it’s not about flashy tech for the sake of it – it’s about using the tools at our disposal to empower learners. Believe it or not, the simple CTRL+L shortcut can be that kind of tool. It might seem like a minor detail, but when thoughtfully integrated into your teaching, it can become a catalyst for curiosity, deeper learning, and student autonomy.

Mindset in How You Use Tools

Tools do not teach. It is our mindset as we approach lesson planning for what we want to accomplish that influences how we use the tools. 

Control L Highlights the URL

When using Google Chrome utilize Control L to highlight the URL. 

Keyboard Shortcuts Save Time

Sharing resources is a key component when utilizing technology with students. We are constantly copying website addresses to post to Google Classroom or other LMS. Control L ensures we can do this quickly and accurately. 

Note that Control L does NOT copy the URL, simply highlights it. You will need to use Control C to copy it. 

What is Student-Centered Learning?

You might think, “Wait, isn’t that just for highlighting a webpage’s URL?” While that is its primary function, CTRL+L can also be a gateway to student empowerment, facilitating deeper learning in a student-centered environment. Let’s unpack how you can use this humble shortcut to create engaging, empowering, and effective learning experiences.

Here are some of the core concepts of student-centered learning (SCL). SCL stands in contrast to traditional teacher-led models where the teacher is the primary transmitter of knowledge. In a student-centered classroom:

  • Students have choices. They are given agency in how they learn, the topics they explore, and the ways they demonstrate their understanding.
  • Learning is collaborative. Group work, peer feedback, and knowledge sharing are encouraged.
  • The focus is on skills, not just content. Students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and adaptability alongside subject-area knowledge.
  • Assessment is formative and ongoing. It’s not just about final tests but continual feedback loops.

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How Does CTRL+L Fit In?

At its core, the beauty of CTRL+L lies in its efficiency, adaptability, and potential to shift learning dynamics. Let’s break down how this simple shortcut can support your student-centered goals:

1. Rapid Inquiry and Exploration

Curiosity is the engine of student-centered learning. Imagine a student reading an article or watching a video where they encounter an unfamiliar term, concept, or historical figure. Before CTRL+L, the inquiry process might involve several steps: opening a new tab, typing in a search engine, scrolling through results. This disrupts their flow and can derail their train of thought.

With CTRL+L, students can instantly highlight a word or phrase and search it directly from the current page. This empowers these amazing knowledge detectives in several ways:

  • Frictionless Inquiry: The speed and ease of the search keep students engaged, rather than sidetracked.
  • Targeted Results: Their search is context-specific, increasing the likelihood of relevant, useful results.
  • Self-Directed Learning: Instead of waiting for the teacher to provide answers, students take the initiative to seek them.

2. Building Deep Understanding

Sometimes, a simple definition isn’t enough. CTRL+L opens doors to multi-dimensional understanding. Here’s how:

  • Visual Exploration: For complex concepts or scientific terms, encourage students to search, then click “Images” on the search result page. Seeing visual representations can solidify their understanding.
  • Historical Context: Instead of just reading about a historical event, a student can search and see photographs, artifacts, and even primary source documents.

Global Perspectives: Searching a geographical location lets students access maps, street views, and even cultural articles, adding context to their learning.

3. Encouraging Critical Evaluation

In a world of information overload, teaching students to discern credible sources from “fake news” is essential. CTRL+L can be your partner in this mission. Students need to capture the website address to provide their sources and an analysis of their sources. Analyzing the web link provides clues about a website’s legitimacy:

  • Scrutinizing the URL: Is the site from a reputable source (.edu, .gov) or does it have a strange web address?
  • Search Results Preview: Before even clicking on a link, students can see snippets in the search results. Do these seem authoritative and well-written?
  • The ‘About this Result’ Feature: Google provides a panel next to some search results. This can show the website’s source (news organization, university, etc.) as well as any potential Wikipedia link.

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