Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ISTE 2014: Thanks for Joining Us

ISTE 2014: The Reflective Teacher's Tips and Tools for Guiding PBL from suzieboss

Thanks to all who joined our ISTE 2014 session, "The Reflective Teacher's Tips and Tools for Guiding PBL."
I was thrilled to share the session with Scot Hoffman from the American School of Bombay in Mumbai, India, and Mike Reilly from the Center for Design and Technology at Lanier High in Gwinnett County, Ga. Both are educators who have been guiding their schools toward high-quality PBL for several years. I've had the privilege of watching their successes unfold, so it was wonderful to hand them the mic in front of a big audience at ISTE (both live and virtual) and let others hear their stories.
The links and resources mentioned in our session are captured on this Google Doc.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

How do you tell your school's story?

Part of the cycle of innovation is paying attention to what works (and what doesn't), and documenting the process. If you're bold enough to make your reflections public, then others can learn from your experiences, accelerating the innovation process.
In education, it's rare to find schools that are transparent about their innovation efforts. Other than the occasional edublogger, we seldom see schools that take the time to document and share what they're learning--especially while change is still unfolding.
American School of Bombay is an exception. This independent school in Mumbai, India, not only has its own R&D department (another rarity in education!), but also publishes reports from the frontlines of innovation. Here's the latest issue of Future Forwards. I'm delighted to be a contributor. Check out my interview with art teacher Karen Fish, who describes her novel approach to assessment.
If want to learn more about innovation at ASB, look for their ISTE session: Design Your School's R&D.  Scot Hoffman, R&D coordinator, will also be making a guest appearance in my session: The Reflective Teacher's Tips and Tools for Guiding PBL on Monday, June 30, 2:15 p.m.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Face-to-Face with Global Issues

Last month, I had the amazing opportunity to watch students in two distant places--India and China--tackle some wicked global problems. At the Global Social Entrepreneurship Summit hosted by American School of Bombay in Mumbai and the Global Student Leaders Summit in Shanghai, developed by EF Educational Tours, teens from diverse contexts sat down to imagine sustainable solutions to issues like gender inequality, access to clean water, and improving education globally.

Both summits introduced students to the design thinking process, fostered team collaboration, and culminated with pitch sessions where participants had to convey their ideas to judges. The 21st-century skills that are so often talked about as learning goals were being put to practical use. What's more, students had to overcome differences of language and culture to get their teams off to a good start. And at both events, students had the chance to learn from role models who are doing the hard, creative work of social innovation.

What did students take away from the experience? In this post for Edutopia, I share insights from two teams of American students. On the ASB Findings blog, Karishma Galani, one of the summit coordinators, shares her hope that students will put their good ideas into action. I hope so, too. Thinking hard about solutions is critically important, but real innovation involves both thinking and doing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Join us at ISTE Virt Con

ISTE is launching its first virtual conference tomorrow (Feb. 13), and Jane and I are excited to be taking part. We'll be sharing some video clips from ISTE13 as we talk about "Signposts to Better Projects: Take Thinking Deeper in PBL." We'll also offer a sneak preview of our session coming up for ISTE14.
We're planning plenty of opportunities for audience participation, so we hope to see you there!
Registration is free for ISTE members. Sign up here. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

In Mumbai, a School for Innovators

Long time between posts--but plenty of travel and interesting conversations in the meantime. I'm just back from the American School of Bombay, an international school that is accelerating innovation on a number of fronts--design thinking, makerspaces, and project-based learning, to name a few.
My visit coincided with the school's TEDxASB event, attracting an audience of students, teachers, and parents. I was honored to share the stage with an inspiring young man named Eshaan Patheria to talk about social innovation. As a high school senior, Eshaan has already started one social enterprise and is hard at work on his next big idea. Read more in this Edutopia post. I was battling laryngitis, but managed to squeak my way through my talk.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer of Making, Writing, Innovating

How do we connect the dots between innovation, the maker movement, and writing in the digital age? That's the focus of an upcoming two-part webinar series hosted by the National Writing Project. I'm excited about the opportunity to discuss these timely topics with Elyse Eidman-Aadahl, director of national programs for the NWP. Here's what's coming up:
  • Wednesday, July 10, 10 a.m. PDT: Bringing Innovation to School Author Chat
    We'll talk about the ideas and case studies featured in my recent book on how to make innovation teachable.
  • Wednesday, July 31, 10 a.m. PDT: Meet the Innovators
    I'll be joined by three of the innovative educators, all active in the NWP, who shared their good thinking during my book research. Paula White and Chad Sansing will join from Albemarle County Public Schools in Virginia, a district that provides seed funding for innovative classroom projects. Antero Garcia, formerly a high school teacher in Los Angeles, will share his experiences of teaching English through alternate reality gaming.
It's all part of the Summer of Making and Connecting, co-sponsored by the NWP and Mozilla Foundation with support from the MacArthur Foundation. Learn more about why writing--in all its forms--occupies an important place in the maker movement in this post for the New York Times Learning Network. Stay up-to-date on more events by following the hashtag #makesummer.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Thinking Hard at ISTE

Thanks to all who attended our jam-packed ISTE session, “Signposts to Better Projects: How to Take Thinking Deeper in Digital-Age PBL.” (If you weren’t able to get in—sorry! The session was videotaped. I’ll share the link to the video as soon as ISTE posts it.)
To warm up the crowd, co-presenter Mike Gwaltney and I asked participants to do a bellringer activity. The prompt: How does my classroom or learning space set the stage for inquiry?
Their replies left me feeling optimistic about the learning spaces that at least some students are getting to experience. As we explain in Thinking Through Project-Based Learning, you may not be able to afford the luxury of a whole-school remodel. But there’s plenty you can do within the physical environment and culture of your classroom to inspire deeper thinking.
Here’s a sampling:

  • “Many teachers give time in their class for students to leave the classroom and work elsewhere (outside, tech rooms, sitting on the floor, etc.) in their groups to work on their projects.”
  • “Essential questions are posted in a lot of our classrooms. We use Socratic seminars to facilitate and encourage discussion.”
  • “My kids spend more time on the floor than in desks. Of course, they are middle school so they would not sit on the floor if directed...But they choose to do so regularly by choice. Collaboration is so much easier with the proximity.”
  • “Creating spaces for wonder. French conjugations printed on staircases, and lots of areas for documentation of student and teacher work processes.”
  • “The space is called The Collaboratory. It is warm, inviting, and conducive to conversation.”
  • “Allowing students choice of how they approach a topic—building on their interests.”

Slides from our ISTE session are posted here.