Thursday, July 9, 2015

ISTE 2015 and Beyond

Whew! ISTE 2015 was a whirlwind--complete with thunderstorms, EdTechKaraoke, Philly hospitality, and fueling stops at the Reading Terminal Market.

Thanks to all who joined us for a jam-packed session on PBL and tech tools. Participants shared ideas for tools to support teaching and learning at different phases of projects. Here's the crowdsourced doc--a goldmine of tech suggestions to consider as you plan your next projects. (Feel free to add to it.)

As ISTE veterans, we know how important it is to reflect after a learning experience like this. I shared a few of my ISTE takeaways in this Edutopia post. If you were among the throngs at ISTE this year, what inspired you? Which tools caught your eye in the Expo Hall? Did your network get more global?  We'd love to hear your takeaways from ISTE 2015.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Projects with Rigor

DQ: Where might Little Free Libraries do the most good in our community?

I was asked the other day how to evaluate the quality of projects. There are so many things to consider!
I've seen too-long projects that result in learning that could have been achieved in a day through direct teaching. I've seen projects that flop because objectives weren't clear and kids investigations were stabs in the dark. Maybe the biggest problem I've seen is the 'read and report' style of project, where kids study a state, or produce one biography, and so on.
Projects that pass my sniff test draw on critical thinking. Any project can be made better if some of these aspects of critical thinking are involved:
  • Compare and contrast
  • Predict
  • Make a well-founded judgment, informed decision
  • Understand causal relationships (cause and effect)
  • Determine how parts relate to the whole (systems)
  • Identify patterns or trends
  • Examine perspectives, alternate points of view
  • Extrapolate to create something new
I was in India a while ago and shared this list with a school staff. The headmaster came over later, very excited, and said, "We can use this list to design or remodel projects so they have rigor! That's the best thing that's come out of this day!"

I love remodeling projects. If you have any you'd like help with any, let me know.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Is Creativity in Your Students' Future?

Thanks to the team at Adobe Education for the invitation to take part in their online series, Creativity is the Future. Here's the recording from last week's session, "Bringing Innovation to School." 
Follow #createEDU to learn about upcoming events in the series.  

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Join the Reinventing PBL Book Club

Throughout the month of October, we're hosting a book club about Reinventing Project-Based Learning, 2nd Ed., as part of Connected Educator Month. Join us for four weeks of facilitated discussions, weekly webinars, and opportunities to connect with the global community of PBLers.
Find all the details here. See you online!
~Suzie and Jane

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Look what's here! Second edition of Reinventing Project-Based Learning was released this week by ISTE. Since the first edition came out in 2008, we've seen enormous change in technology tools available for real-world learning, and also a huge surge of interest in PBL around the globe. New (or expanded) chapters take a deeper look at assessment in PBL and offer a forecast of trends to watch. Lots of inspiring project examples, too, from the growing, global PBL community. Feedback welcome!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

How to ensure student voice in PBL? Ask the experts.

Encouraging student voice seems like a no-brainer when it comes to PBL. Designing projects to connect with students' interests is a surefire strategy for increasing engagement. Encouraging students to ask questions that matter to them helps to drive inquiry throughout the project.

But how often do we ask students to share their strategies for amplifying their own voice in learning?
Zak Malamed (@zakmal) started #stuvoice to ensure that students get heard in school reform conversations. What began as a Twitter hashtag has grown into a movement. Zak and team have formed a nonprofit (, recruited corporate and nonprofit allies, and will host the second Student Voice Live! summit on Sept. 20 in New York. (I first met Zak at the Clinton Global Initiative for youth and have enjoyed watching him bring #stuvoice to a variety of settings, including #iste2014.)

How can teachers develop their ear for student insights? For starters, check out Student Voice in a Box, a collection of interviews and project ideas. Follow #stuvoice. Learn from (adult) experts like Russell Quaglia (DrRussQ), who combines research with practical strategies to ensure that students have a say in their learning experience. And invite your students to share their ideas. What matters most to them when it comes to learning? How and when do they learn best? What makes them curious? They might respond by generating project ideas you'd never imagine, identifying community issues they want to tackle, or lobbying for solutions to make their own education more relevant and engaging.